Death is more certain than snow | SierraSun.com

Death is more certain than snow

Bob Sweigert
Special to the Sierra Sun

Don’t worry, the snow will come. And I’m not just saying that. I’m just typing it. I can’t think of anything else to say.

Grasshopper Soup has not been easy to cook up these last few months, and I have been close to shutting down the kitchen for good. I thought today I could at least give you a little hope.

It has not been easy for me to keep my sense of humor. I’ll tell you why. Let me share with you something that I have been trying to keep out of Grasshopper Soup since last spring. I owe any sense of humor I may have to my dad, whose body is

slowly shrinking.

Death is more certain than snow, but waiting for it is infinitely more difficult. I don’t know exactly when, but it won’t be long before dad rides off into the sunset. Supposedly, we will be lucky if he makes it to Christmas. But, I suspect he will amaze all the experts and cling to life longer than they predict just because he is so fascinated by what is happening in the world today, which is more than I can say for myself.

World events are very interesting, but all I have cared about the last five months is dad, and black-market enriched uranium getting into the wrong hands. I also worry about dropping dead before dad does, and taking all the attention away from him.

It would be just like me. My life was even wilder than his, and my heart isn’t a whole lot healthier.

Meanwhile, Poppy, as the grandkids call him, is getting a good laugh out of all the family drama his imminent passing has stirred up, and world events, especially American politics.

About two years ago Dad had a test done in which lung cancer was detected, but the doctor forgot to read the results. Over a year went by and the doctor never said a word, so dad figured everything was fine. It wasn’t. By the time the mistake was discovered, it was too late. The cancer had spread, and the doctor is still in business.

Dad survived a heart attack ten years ago when, statistically, he shouldn’t have, so he figures those ten years are just frosting on the cake, and what a cake it was. So, he has his cake, and soon he’s going to eat it. It will be an eternal and well-deserved dessert.

He told me he wants to go suddenly, with one big, final ventricular event, rather than slowly and painfully. I told him I hope he gets his wish. It’s not everyday you get to tell your father you hope he drops dead, and get away with it. But we had a pretty good laugh after that exchange. It was one of the most intimate moments I have ever shared with him.

You can’t pick and choose your manner of death. You can, however, choose your attitude about it. Although I am sure dad has moments of doubt and fear that he can’t share with everyone, he displays an amazing, humorous attitude about the tolling of the bell.

Dad showed me the real estate he purchased for the final resting place of his ashes. He couldn’t remember the exact location of the plot, and it didn’t seem all that important to him. Knowing approximately where his ashes will be, I asked him where he will be. He looked me square in the eye and, with a big smile, like a little kid he said, “In Heaven.”

For a not-so-religious guy, it was a very transcendent moment.

Thanks for reading today’s Soup. I had to crank it out early before I left. Right now I am somewhere in San Francisco, or on Highway 1 on my way to the Monterey Cowboy Poetry Festival. I’ll see dad in Auburn on the way down and back.

I do plan on coming back to Tahoe, but life doesn’t always turn out the way we want it to. The trick is to learn to want it however it turns out, even the ending.

I could be wrong. Maybe the snow won’t come this year. There are more important concerns in life.