The Great Pumpkin

When I was a kid we had The Great Pumpkin visit every year. Our neighborhood was full of young families, so Halloween was always a big deal.

My parents were always very involved in everything I did, and when it came to Halloween, they really stepped it up. They had a ceramic pumpkin with a sound sensitive light they would put inside. The pumpkin would light up with sound, and it was sitting on a big speaker covered with a blanket. Dad would be hiding in the dark inside the living room behind a window covered with a sheer curtain, talking into a microphone that went to the speaker under the pumpkin. Kids would come to the porch and the pumpkin would start interacting with them. Some ran away terrified, but most of them were fascinated by the magic of The Great Pumpkin!

The first year we had The Great Pumpkin visit caused quite the stir in the neighborhood (and small town). The second year we had kids visiting from nearby neighborhoods coming to our neighborhood to see him. By the third year, kids were visiting from neighboring towns, some even traveled from several towns over. When I began high school we moved to a town about 30 miles away. I remember hearing kids in high school talk about going to another town to trick-or-treat so they could see The Great Pumpkin.

I took my parents coolness for granted as a kid, but I sure am glad to have so many great childhood memories. It breaks my heart to think that The Great Pumpkin has retired and may never be seen again. Maybe he will be resurrected someday with a female voice. 😉

Gift or Curse?

I’ve always wondered if it would be better to know you are dying or to just go unexpectedly. If you had asked me that question before this July I probably would have said it would be better to just go suddenly and painlessly.

I don’t think I agree with that anymore. Learning and realizing that my father has a finite number of days left has been the toughest thing I’ve ever had to accept. It has also been a gift for which I will forever be grateful. I moved away from home in 2003 and over the past 10 years I haven’t exactly visited as often as I should have. I’ve missed a lot of special occasions and family dinners. I have been given the opportunity to try to make up for lost time the best I can. I will not miss another birthday or holiday, and I will spend as many weekends with my parents as I can while I still have them around. Dad may surprise us all and beat this cancer, against all odds. Even if that happens I will be sure to not miss any more holidays.

Yes, I now feel that knowing that my father is dying is a gift.

I don’t know if he sees this as a gift or not. I honestly don’t know how I would see it if I were in his position. I would like to think I would see it as a blessing, and even more so, I would like to think he is grateful for this time. Truth be told, I don’t know that he sees it that way. I know he is enjoying all of the love that is surrounding him during this time, but I also know he takes anxiety medication regularly these days. He smiles and speaks of happy things. Even his eyes are smiling, but I can see the sorrow hiding behind them and it breaks my heart for him. I know this will be a difficult year for me, but I cannot begin to imagine how hard this is for him.

So, gift or curse? Definitely a gift for family, but for the patient?  I think a little of both, maybe.

iphone 124

P.S. Cancer sucks.

Sometimes not owning is better than owning.

What’s better than owning an airplane? Long-term leasing an airplane.

I recently entered into a partnership on Piper Cherokee 140. The owner has lost interest in flying and has a new family, which is where his financial interests now lie. Since I (and a partner) would like access to an airplane, we are making the payments and paying the insurance on the airplane in exchange for having full access.

So far, so good. I flew the plane to Greenville to visit my parents for the weekend last week and the plane flew wonderfully. This past weekend I flew with Shon, my partner in this venture, to Sumter for the Breakfast Club Fly In. Shon will soon be having his Biannual Flight Review and will fly more regularly. I hope we can find an easy schedule to split the time without too many conflicts.

One of the things that is nice about renting planes is that someone else has to take care of maintenance issues. There’s already a crackle in the radio that needs to be repaired, and since we are taking responsibility of the airplane it is up to us to have these issues taken care of. We will need to find a way (and time) to get it over to Charleston Executive Airport for repairs soon.

This is still better than owning and it’s WAY better than renting.

One More Candle and a Trip Around the Sun

I spent a week with my mom and dad last week. We went fly fishing this on Friday, just like we did when I was younger, and we had a blast! When we returned to the house and he took a shower, his hair began falling out from his first round of chemo. He decided not to shave it until Tuesday so that his guests wouldn’t be shocked. It also gave him a few days to prepare himself for the change. This was the lowest point of the weekend

On Saturday we had a 69th birthday party for him. The house had 50 people in it, including a sister from Michigan and a brother and sister-in-law from TX, a friend from Louisiana, a friend from Maryland, and a bunch of local friends, old and new. All of these people came to show my dad how much they love him, and he soaked up every bit of it. A few of these people stayed on until Tuesday, and his sister stayed until today (Friday). There are still 26 cards on his mantle and he enjoyed reading them again and again. He always did enjoy his birthday cards.

When we shaved his head on Tuesday he handled it very well. The shaved head actually suits him very well, though It’s still a shock to see him with his new look.  It helps that he is able to smile about it.

Yesterday the doctor told us that his cancer is actually “Primitive Differential Carcinoma”, not Lung cancer like we thought. I’m not really sure what this means as this is not an easily google-able cancer.

Today Dad had his second dose of chemotherapy. Thinking of this makes me sad because I know he will feel awful next week. Hopefully he will handle it as well as, or better than, his last dose. I’ll be seeing him next weekend, assuming he is feeling well enough and I am healthy.