PASSING THE TORCH

The article below was written several years ago but it is still appropriate, especially so as I keep advancing in age.


By Harvey Tobkes

My birthday is coming up later this month, and as usual, my family will be getting together to celebrate the occasion at a fine restaurant.

I love birthdays. I get presents I don’t really need, I get to blow out the candles, I even get the first cut of the cake and I love the way my 3 children patronize me as if I’m senile.

I guess there comes a time in one’s life when the children and parents reverse roles. They tell you what is good for you, and you accept it, and once you reach that point there no turning back. In my brood, Andrew is a gastroenterologist, Scott is a chiropractor, and my daughter, Julie, was a surgical nurse for many years. So maybe they are accustomed to telling others what to do.

Grandpa plays with blocksThe first sign of change, in my case, happened at a restaurant where we all met for dinner.
They, my adult children, were having a conversation and talking as if I were not there. “He looks pretty good for his age,” Andy remarked, “although I wish he would cut back on his walking. Four miles a day is too much.” Scott said, “I tried to get him to try swimming but he said he’d rather walk.” My daughter asked, “Do you think he would like a little of my fish?”

You might excuse the rude behavior by saying I do not hear very well, (O.K. I admit my hearing is lousy) in a group situation. But I learned how to deal with people speaking indistinctly; when they try making eye contact, I just smile my Forrest Gump smile. I also noticed they spoke to me in a mild shout, and spoke slowly, as you would to the Village Idiot. “Would -you- like-another-drink–dad?” I nodded no, just to make a little conversation.

After dinner, during a lull, they started on me again, this time in low voices. “He looks very healthy for a man of his age,” my daughter told the boys. Scott said, “Don’t ask him to do any push-ups because he will.” The others laughed, but Andy said, “I hope he doesn’t start to reminisce about his experiences as an army paratrooper, because once he starts talking you can’t shut him up.”

All of this is no problem for me because I recognize it all as a normal progression in life.

I admit. I’m am ready to pass the family torch to whoever (or whomever, I think they’re both correct) will carry it.



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