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My books can be purchased as e-books for only $1.99. If interested, just click here: Books.
Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Friday, December 6

The Grim Reaper

More and more often, my body keeps reminding me that I’m getting old. No, not “getting” old; I AM old. Every morning, Arthur Eyetis wakes me up and then screams at me as I prop my weight on an arm to hoist my aching body out of bed. The shoulder aches, the lower back moans, my feet tingle. I take two ibuprofen every morning, along with a handful of other meds, and they keep me relatively pain-free throughout the day. I feel like I’m relatively healthy compared to a lot of the oldies I see at Safeway or at Hole-in-One, the restaurant where we breakfast quite often. I see them shuffling to the restroom, tiny steps, backs hunched over their walker, faces contorted with the effort. But lately I notice a sway in my gait, and the gait is a lot slower than it used to be. Now that I’m an octogenarian, I’m thinking more and more about that exit door just down the hall, with the green ripper behind it waiting for me. A little girl in one of John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee series overheard her parents talking about the Grim Reaper and thought they were describing some green monster who ripped people apart, thus the Green Ripper. I don’t envision any ripper or black-cloaked figure with a scythe. I know death is a kind of farewell, a closing down. But what comes after? I don’t believe in God, at least not the God of any of the world’s religions. No heaven, no hell, no limbo.

Some deaths are better than others. My father fell dead from a heart attack, one moment here, next moment gone. That was a good death even though too soon at sixty-eight. My mother lived ninety-four years, taking care of herself even though legally blind for her last decade. She fell and broke a hip, was hospitalized, and never recovered, dying within a week and a half. A good death. Brother Dick drowned in a motel pool at eighty-five. A tragic death, but quick, a good death. You get the idea—the time between relatively good health and death should be short, quick, not agonizingly drawn out in some hospital bed or in a wheelchair in a Golden Bridge assisted living place. “Golden Bridge,” now there’s a misnomer if I ever saw one. A bad death is that one just described, mind and memory gone but blood still pumping. When the quality of life dips below what is acceptable, we should be given the right to say goodbye. My sister-in-law, ninety-two, is presently caught in that awful corridor between acceptable and unacceptable life, for two years gradually succumbing to Alzheimer’s. That’s my idea of a bad death. We should all have an off button somewhere handy, a button we could hit when life is no longer acceptable. I know, I know. What if we no longer have a mind to determine when that time comes? Ay, there’s the rub.

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