Dancing the Jitterbug

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
This was a writing assignment, a challenge if you will, that the writing group I belong to attempted. You had to insert and tie in somewhere “dancing the jitterbug.” I tied it into a real life story.

Submitted: June 22, 2008

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Submitted: June 22, 2008

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The idea of turning eighty years old consumes his thoughts daily. He says that he doesn’t bother buying green bananas anymore. He was the youngest of his clan and grew up during the Great Depression. He didn’t fight in any wars, not for any other reason but his age and timing. He did however serve his country, state and city, as a citizen soldier of the National Guard and a police officer in his hometown. His life was put in peril on many occasions and once his life was almost cut short, nearly making him an alumnus of the club of forever young men. While in the performance of his police duties on a cold snowy night in February 1962 a car struck him from behind, catapulting him through the air. Once he landed, his journey of a new life began.
The first night in the hospital was touch and go, if he didn’t lose his life he was almost guaranteed the loss of both legs; but that would not be the case. The phenomenal care of the emergency room, surgical and ICU teams enable them to save his life and his legs. It would be a long recovery though. He had to re-learn many things all over again. It caused him to reach down deep, very deep, and push himself physically and mentally farther than he ever thought possible. He was a husband and a father of three young children. He was young. He wanted the American Dream. So he climbed up and out of a dark hole and he knew that he was now on borrowed time; each day was now truly a gift and he would work hard to honor that gift.
He went back to work full duty two years later and served the community with great distinction for another 30 plus years. He would receive commendations and move up through the ranks and retire as a captain. He lived his life to the fullest and worked hard to provide for his family.
His social obligation and charitable devotions set him apart from others and when times were tough or tragedy struck he would look forwards, not backwards, and endeavor to press on.
He was a man who you would want on your side and a man who would always make you feel better. The smile that he wore and the crow’s feet they made, next to his kind blue eyes, were contagious.
He looked towards retirement with some confliction and trepidation because he loved his work, but he knew the time was right. He always felt that he had other things to do. He said he didn’t want the only thing golden about his remaining years to be his urine.
He ran for city council and won. He was re-elected and served a total of two terms and put forth many resolutions. He was instrumental in initiating a city-wide recycling program.
When his wife got sick, soon after his retirement, he did what he was supposed to do; he took care of her. He took care of her, at home, as long as he possible could and he did this not because it was his duty, but because he loved her. He loved her unconditionally, Alzheimer’s proved this. This woman, his wife, his partner in life, who he shared fifty years of the blessings of life as well as the tribulations, does not even know who he is anymore; yet, he visits her and feeds her every day. He misses her emotionally, and he knows sometime soon he will be missing her physically.
He holds on to his memories of days long gone and he likes to share them as much as I like to listen to them. He recalls the funniest things at the weirdest times, and often repeats them.
“Yes dad, I’ve heard that story a few times already,” I usually reply laughing.
The other day, while watching the Red Sox eke out another win he looked at me and said,
“I can still remember the first time dancing the Jitterbug.”
“Yeah?…Tell me all about it dad.”


© Copyright 2017 ScatterBrain. All rights reserved.

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