Lately, I have been battling a minor case of plantar faciitis, which is an inflammation of the thick tissue, the plantar fascia, on the bottom of the foot that connects the heel bone to the toes and creates the arch of the foot. In my particular case, there is a sharp pain or burning in my heel that, when it is present, causes me to walk with a limp. The problem with a minor case is that the pain is not always present. Sometimes, it only comes on during a long walk. More frequently, it shows up after I’ve been sitting for a while and get up to walk across the room. Or in the middle of the night, when I get up to take care of nature’s call. Then, I find myself hobbling across the room like a little old man. Except I’m not all that little. I’m wearing special inserts in my shoes, and when I remember, I’m strapping my arch for support but there’s certainly more I could be doing … taking anti-inflammatories and certain remedial exercises, for example. Having only intermittent pain, however, allows Leaky Roof Syndrome to set in. Never heard of it? It comes from an old song, The Arkansas Traveler, which tells of an old man, fiddling in his cabin, up to his ankles in water coming in through a hole in the roof. A stranger stops by, and says, You really should fix your roof. Coon’t do that, the old fiddler says, It’s rainin’ too hard. Well, says the stranger, you sure should fix it when the weather clears. You give me a pain, says the old fiddler. Why’d I do that? My roof don’t leak when it don’t rain. Leaky Roof Syndrome … why do exercises when the heel doesn’t hurt?
It turns out that one particular pair of shoes accommodates my arch supports best … and is least likely to bring on heel pain later in the day. You might guess that it isn’t a fashionable pair … it’s my white leather New Balance 409s, also known as the Official Shoe of the Middle Aged Male, a definition that only makes real sense if we’re all going to live to be 120. Seriously, the next time you’re in a room with a bunch of sixty-plus males, look around. So, I’ve been living in my 409s. Yesterday, as I was out running errands, I looked down at my tan jeans and my very white shoes, a fashion faux pas I’d never have committed ten years ago. And I thought of my Dad. Oh, yeah, he’d have been wearing Velcro-tie bone leather Reeboks and tan polyester slacks but the look was unmistakable. I find that happening more often as I push seventy … I not only do things my Dad used to do … I feel sometimes as if I am my Dad, that somehow, I’m inhabiting his body or perhaps, he’s decided to ride along in mine.
On our way to Arizona last week, some youngster in an oversized pick-up tailgated me for a mile on the 10 Freeway then rushed by impatiently as soon as I was able to get into the right lane, giving me a look as he did. In the old days, I’d have flipped him off but I launched into a diatribe about drivers of larger trucks. When I was done and Muri was shaking her head, I said, That was my Dad. Muri smiled knowingly. Lately, I find the word Idiot appearing in my vocabulary (as in, Look at that idiot) more often and when an older fellow cuts me off, the phrase, Watch it, Gramps, appears but is unspoken (because I’m a Gramps, too). I have to be careful to keep some of Dad’s more politically incorrect favorites in my mental holster. Again, I have that sense that I’m not just sounding like Dad but that we’re inhabiting this old body together. I asked Muri, Do you ever feel like you’re becoming your Mom? Not just acting like her? I mean I can see Violet’s the little hand gestures and phrases showing up in Muri and I know she does, too. She answered, Yes. I know just what you mean. Interesting.
So, it’s Top Sites Tuesday #192 and I have to come up with Two Thoughts on Tuesday. For Thought Number One, I’ll turn to the lyrics of Bonnie Raitt’s Nick of Time:
I see my folks, they’re getting old, I watch their bodies change…
I know they see the same in me, And it makes us both feel strange…
No matter how you tell yourself, It’s what we all go through…
Those eyes are pretty hard to take when they’re staring’ back at you.
It indeed feels strange and it indeed makes me feel old (which makes it a good topic for Older Eyes – Bud’s Blog). But there’s another side to that coin (as there always is), which is also a good topic for Older Eyes. I was very fortunate to get to know my Dad best … as an adult … in his seventies and eighties. For most of his life, he was not an emotional man but in his last twenty years, he’d tear up talking about his family or how he’d been able to spend his last years in a beautiful assisted living facility. I miss him a lot. So Thought Number Two is this: It’s nice to feel, sometimes, as if he’s riding along with me in these most interesting years. And while I still have to squelch his pronouncements on life sometimes, he also reminds me to appreciate what I’ve got, especially those that love me. Maybe this is how reincarnation works.
Do you ever feel like your parents? Any thoughts are welcome in my comments section. Please take the time to push my button … gently … to make me Number One on Top Sites Tuesday #192.
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