Friday, January 26

Dear Jim,

What a peaceful day. Everything has gone right.

I had an invigorating walk up the alley this morning. I wanted to go to the store before it got crowded and I wanted to erase something off of my to do list.

When I got back I called dad. We talked for twenty minutes. That’s the second time in a row we talked for that long. He didn’t disconnect the phone by accident like he did last week. Maybe the ladies who take care of him explained how to use it, or got an easier one to use.

The other day Sis I and II visited him for an early birthday celebration. Dad said it was great.

He’s going to be 96. That’s incredible. I wonder if you were here, if you would have let dad be put in a rest home, or if you would have taken care of him.

You should see the people on the street who need to be taken care of. Last night when I got home there was a crazy bastard screaming under the carport. He was still screaming when I went to bed.

Usually when I hear or see somebody under the carport, I look at them to scare them. I was afraid to look at that bastard. It’s incredible how much time and energy I put into thinking and complaining about these guys.

Dad sounded really good. He’s been sounding strong. I could tell he was low today, but he still sounded strong. He said he’s been feeling good.

He said the days drag by and that they must drag by for me too. I said my days go by fast, it’s just that I have a lot of bad days. He said yeah or something to acknowledge that he knew what I was talking about.

The other day I walked to the river. I knew it wouldn’t be high because there has not been a lot of rain. But I needed to see water, the movement of the river. I needed a destination. I needed to walk without carrying my crap.

It’s usually windier at the river. I wanted to stay a while to watch the current and patterns on the water, but I was sweating. The wind chilled me. I said, ”You better get outta here.” But at least I saw it.

On the way back my knees started to hurt. I was smart. I didn’t push it.

I waited for a bus and took it the rest of the long way home. Remember when your feet started to hurt from walking all those hills in The City?

Dad’s lucky. His legs held up until he was 89. I compliment him on his great body all the time.

On Wednesday he went for a haircut. I asked how it went. He said, “It’s a real good one.” I said, ”Do you look like you’re 70?” He laughed.

I feel 70.

I told the MD that I feel punchy a lot, that sometimes it’s hard for me to speak. I asked for a brain scan, then he sent me for a CT. There was nothing wrong. No tumors. No bleeding. No Alzheimer’s.

One time he said I know the lights at work drive you crazy and that the stress makes you think there is something wrong with your brain, but we have no studies or tests that we can point to and give you for your particular problem.

What would solve most of my problem would be to have the money to retire. I would go outside more. I would not be overstimulated by the shitty lights and stressful job.

It’s amazing dad and mom looked so good for so long, especially dad.

That’s it for now.

I hope we get a lot of rain so the rivers get high.



Copyright © 2021 by David Vaszko

Friday, December 22

Dear Jim,

The days are getting longer.

I am trying to get in the Christmas spirit. On Wednesday I finally took out the battery-operated Christmas tree that mom gave me. I love it. She received it from two swingers at church who bought it at Gumps.

I remember you bought somebody a present at Gumps, but I can´t remember what it was. The old lady across the street from us when I graduated from high school had a friend twenty years younger than her who had a great position there. I still know his name but never met him.

It´s a struggle this year. I took out the tree, but left the Silent Night chimes in the closet. I definitely do not feel the peace of Christmas.

On Sunday I´m going to Sis II´s. I don´t think there will be a lot of people. I want to relax, so I hope not. I really want and need to talk with Sis II. Dad´s mind is shot, so she is all I have in the family.

Speaking of family, I was reading the New York Times the other day and thought of you. Two years ago a 25 year old New York City cop was murdered on duty. The other day after the trial but before the verdict:

¨the officer´s mother addressed the courtroom in an emotional plea for the maximum
sentence for her son´s killer, whom she refused to look at. She spoke of Mr. ____´s
lovable personality and living with the knowledge that she would never dance with
him at his wedding or see him become a father. ´This is my life sentence, without
parole,´ she said.¨

A totally different perspective than what mom and dad had toward your murderer. Mom and dad forgave him and prayed for him. If you had read the article you would have said the family of the murderer suffered too.

When the guy who killed you hung himself in jail, I wonder if his kids were happy for us because either he evened the score, or because we were spared the trial and all the questions people would have asked us, ¨Do you hope he gets the death penalty man?¨ I wonder if they were relieved for themselves for not having to go through the stress of the trial or having to visit their father in San Quentin.

I was glad he hung himself. I didn´t give the slightest shit about his kids.

One time when dad was driving you, mom, and I somewhere, you were talking about something that happened in the Bay Area in the 1950´s. A guy was sent to prison for arson. He claimed that he did not do it. He told the prosecutor something like, ¨You´ll pay for this.¨ When the guy got out of prison, he looked up the prosecutor then killed him.

My reaction was ¨Good!¨ ¨What balls!¨ ¨Serves the career-building attorney right!¨ Your comment was that the guy in jail could have tried to make peace with himself in jail, to learn forgiveness, to not waste all those years cultivating vengeance.

I wonder what the two families thought. Did the prosecutor´s family say, ¨Yes. Well even though that was 15 years ago, our dad/brother did ruin someone´s life. We don´t like what happened, but we cannot complain.¨? Did the family of the murderer say, ¨If he had broken out of jail the first week and killed him, that would have been OK, but now we lose our father/brother a second time. We wanted him back.¨?

Well Jim, Merry Christmas.

Thanks for praying for me.



Copyright © 2021 by David Vaszko