A Visit With Popaw

It’s been awhile since I’ve told a story about Popaw.

First, let me give you a little health update on him. Two times this year he has been near death. However, in perfect Troy fashion, he’s rebounding and enjoying life again.

Most recently, he has been in Hospice care at The Bridge. After a few months of good loving care, his weakened body has regained strength and his suppressed appetite has been restored. This week he graduated out of Hospice care. Terry often says, “He’s a tough old bird.” I like to thing of him as a Timex: He takes a licking and keeps on ticking.

On Thursday, while visiting, I walked him to the elevator to go down for dinner. Three women with walkers were also waiting to go down. Being the gentleman, Popaw said, “Honey, we’ll just wait for the next one.”

All three women along with their gear rolled into the elevator. Once securely in they encouraged us to get in stating there was “plenty” of room for us.

Popaw was still hesitant but I convinced him there was room. He rolled walker over the threshold. The door closed and for a brief moment there was silence. Then he smiled at me and said, “I didn’t think there would be room for us with all of the these fat ladies in here”

Surprised by his comment, I stood speechless and quiet! Then I wanted to burst out laughing but knew that would be positively inappropriate, considering two of the women were rather large. Silence fell for a few moments and I was hopeful all three ladies were hearing impaired or had not heard his comment. Much to my dismay, they heard plainly.

One spoke up to say, “Did you hear what he just said? He called us fat! I don’t think I like him anymore”

Now I really had to keep myself contained and not burst into a fit of laughter. As I was trying, with all my might, to remain composed and stoic, another lady spoke up and said, “Well, I guess he was just talking about the two of us because the one in the back is as skinny as a rail.”

The elevator came to a halt and Popaw turned to them with a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his face and said, “I knew that would keep things lively.”

The doors opened and we all disbursed.

I kissed him goodbye as he went into the dining hall. As I walked away I thought, “I guess you can get away with saying just about anything when you get old.”

Later that evening, I replayed our visit that day. We had talked about a lot a things but near the end of our conversation he began to talk about Colleen and how much he missed her. “It’s hard to believe she’s been gone for eight years. You know, time is a funny thing. In some ways it moves so fast and other ways it seems to drag on.” Quite frankly, I am glad that his life continues to drag on because it gives me precious moments like these to spend time with him.

The Curtain Will Fall

It’s the end of the show and the curtain falls. It rises again for the standing ovation, once, twice, perhaps more. Finally the applause wanes and its over. The finale. The end. The run is over. Done.

At first, cries and shouts of jubilee from the cast and production crew. Cheers. High Fives. Hugs galore. Then out of nowhere, there’s a sinking feeling deep in the pit of your stomach. You realize this moment is gone forever and it will never come again. At this moment you realize that you’ve been a part of something bigger than yourself and it was your choice. You’re glad you made the choice.

Four times over, I’ve watched as each of my children, in an eight year time span, chose to be part of their Senior Class play. This happens to be one of the oldest and most time-honored traditions of Hendersonville High School.

What makes this so special?

One, the play itself only involves the Senior Class. It’s not a drama club or class. The play is made up of any Senior who wants to participate. Also, lead roles aren’t necessarily given to those students with prior acting experience. In essence, it’s the closing act of the Senior class, their final “Hoorah!”, if you will. Participation isn’t required but highly recommended.

Also, during the long rehearsals and spending time with other members of the graduating class, friendships are born and some rekindled and there’s always the chance that love will blossom.

All of my children participated in their Senior play. Without fail, when the final curtain was drawn, not one of them regretted their decision to be a part. Even those who weren’t keen on the idea initially, would say, “I’m so glad I did this.”

This year Amy and I were sitting in the familiar balcony seats, awaiting the start of the show, and she looked at me and said, “Mom, has it really been two years since I did this?”

“Yes, it has. Time flies. Aren’t you proud to be able to say you were part of this time-honored tradition?” I asked

“Absolutely. ”

A few minutes later the curtain opened and the show began. A delightfully entertaining rendition of “The Wizard of Oz”. After a short intermission, the final act began and just like the previous 96 years, the final curtain closed and it was over. Done. Finished. Caput. The only ones receiving the satisfaction of a job well done are the ones who chose to participate.

And so it is with us, one day our curtain will fall. We will be history. Our bodies will fail. But when our curtain falls, where we spend eternity will be decided by our own choosing. We don’t have to believe in Jesus and the power of His resurrection. The choice is ours and if we miss out it’s our own fault. Because in the end, we have the satisfaction of knowing that we’ve been part of something much bigger than ourselves. We’ve been invited to be part of a glorious kingdom that will never end.