Thursday, April 06, 2006

Harm's way

My old friend and Julie's brother-in-law Postie died last night. He was in his mid-80's so--enough is enough.

Postie served under General Douglas Macarthur in WWII, but it always made it clear that his primary military objective was to stay out of harm's way. He succeeded in that regard pretty well and returned to the USA in good condition.

He married his childhood sweetheart and went to work as an investment analyst for the Standard Oil Company. Eventually, having still kept well out of harm's way, Postie was offered and took and early retirement package.

Though he and his bride, Jinny, never had children of their own, they lavished love and attention on their extended family of friends and relatives. Postie was quite a charmer and was loved by all.

Age and infirmities forced them into the medical housing unit of their retirement home in fairfield, California. Crippled by arthritis, Jinny was bed and wheelchair bound. Postie could get about a bit, but aging was slowing his walk and his mental focus.

But he loved company. He was a wonderful host and loved it when he made you happy. The time before the last I saw him, he got up and performed an awkward dance in a facility social room. I admit I felt a little embarrassed at his shambling performance before his fellow residents.

The last time I saw Postie, he slumped in a chair in that same room. His deafness kept him from hearing our conversation and his fogging mind kept him from caring. I wished he could dance again.

I did my scheduled swim this morning. But without the goggles, there would have been tears on the pool.

Postie was probably the most persistently nice and conventionally decent man I have ever known. Charm like his can only be missed, no matter how inevitable its passing must be.

When the fatal conditions suddenly developed, the final decision to move on was his. So he opted to move gracefully and charmingly out of harm's way.


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