“Is this the little girl I used to know?” Dad asks when I call to tell him Mum is flying home from England in a few days.
“Warning me,” he says, “You’re a good little girl.”
A few days later, we spend another weekend sitting side by side in old people chairs in front of the TV.
“Remember, in order to grow old, you have to have a sense of humour,” Dad says, “There’s lots to laugh about.”
He pauses, not laughing.
We admire the animals on his lap.
“Where’s the warden now?” he asks.
“She comes back in two sleeps,” I say.
“Long ones, I hope,” he replies and we laugh.
“Here comes ol’ shuffalong Sandy,” he says getting up with stiff steps to his walker.
“If you can,” he says, “laugh about it when you can barely make it to the bathroom.”
I treat him to a bowl of vanilla ice cream when he gets back.
“I’ll try to go to church next weekend,” Dad says later.
He didn’t make it this week. Lately, it takes two people to help him down the aisle for communion which has him contemplating packing it in.
“I think it’s important you keep moving,” I say.
“Otherwise, they throw dirt in your face,” he replies.
An email arrives from Mum. It reads:
“At the moment, I am researching going to Oz by freighter. The only problem is I have to be under 80. I could go and see Taeja so I am hoping they do make occasional exceptions to the age limit. Perhaps next year. What do you think? The reason for the age limit is that there is no doctor on board, and the trip is about 35 days. However, if I were that sick that I couldn’t survive without a doctor, then I would die anyway, so what is the problem I ask myself.”
Dad laughs and shakes his head.
A rolling stone gathers no moss.