Just got back from visiting dad in Florida. It's hard to go six months without seeing him, so I'm working on getting him back to Dayton. So far I've been unsuccessful. Winter would not be a good time anyway, so hopefully we can get him back in the spring. He says "I'll come home for a visit." If I get him back here, it will be for good.
Anyway, the visit was great. He looks great in the pictures. But in six months time he has slowed down a lot. Walks slower (and a little more bent over, just like his mom and sister did) and takes more time responding to questions. Partly because he can't hear what we say because he won't wear his hearing aides! (I'm taking notes...to remember that maybe someday I'll be 86 and I hope Nick is patient with ME).
I remember my mom talking about visiting her mother in a nursing home in Philadelphia. My mom took a picture of her and pinned on her shirt was a picture (cut out of a magazine) of Rice a Roni.
My mom's brother, Uncle Addie, lived outside Sacramento, CA. Near San Francisco. I'm pretty sure Uncle Addie was grandma's favorite. He was the oldest. Smart and funny. Grandma wanted everyone to know about her son. So when she found the picture of Rice a Roni (a San Francisco treat!) in the magazine, I'm sure it reminded her of him.
The reason I tell that story is because my dad is doing the same thing. He was pretty close to Melissa. After she died (of breast cancer), he started donating to any charity that had anything to do with breast cancer (whether they were legitimate or not). One of the charities had a Breast Cancer Pin of the Month. He was paying $30 a month for a Breast Cancer pin (and he got a big wooden case to display them in as well)! Plus, if you made a donation, you had a chance to win a million dollars.
UGH. Hard to make my dad understand that it wasn't a legitimate charity if they were (supposedly) giving away a million dollars (of donated money). Anyway, he loved those pins. One was a pink shaped ribbon that looked like a flip flop. He wore it every day for almost a year until he lost it. I remember how disappointed he was.
A few years ago, I made "Fort buttons" for some of the breast cancer walks we participated in.
An "in Memory of Fort" button.
When we got to his place last week, he was wearing it, right in the middle of his shirt. He wears it EVERY day. (I wonder if he wears it to bed!!!) Makes my heart happy.
Fort & Grandpa
Grandpa & Fort...still.
We didn't want to disrupt his routines, so we went to see him mid afternoon every day. Took him out to dinner every day and on Sunday, took him on a "Sunday drive", just like he did with us when we were little. He really enjoyed that. We drove down A1A to Sebastion. Captain Hiram's, one of his and mom's favorite places on the Indian River.
We took him to the VFW to visit his friends. He doesn't get there as often as he used to (which was EVERY day)...but they haven't forgotten him. In fact, he's like Norm in CHEERS. Dad walks into the bar and everyone looks up and says "IRRRRVVVVV"!!! That makes my heart happy too.
Dad and his friend Betty at the VFW
and of course dad was invited to sing @ Karaoke!
We were able to get together with my new friend Emily (I wrote about Emily a few posts back) - she
found Melissa's blog when she read the article Melissa wrote for the Cincinnati Weekly. Didn't take her long to realize that she and Melissa attended Ohio University at the same time - and had a lot of things in common. She sent me a beautiful letter via FB messaging after she learned that Melissa passed away. She and her husband and boys moved to Melbourne a couple of years ago. When she realized my dad lived there, she sent me a message. We met for the first time about a year ago. They had us over for dinner on our last visit - we took them out to dinner this time. Wonderful family. Three adorable little boys...and I know a LASTING friendship has been made.
Dad and his buddy Ryan - he loves this little guy! Emily & Ryan have visited dad a couple times too!
Me, Jonathan, Emily & Ryan
Our last night there we decided to take dad to a place that is just a couple of blocks from where he lives. We've seen it on the water and were curious - it's always busy and looked like fun. It's called Squid Lips - now our favorite place in Melbourne! It's right on the water, has a sandy area with picnic tables and indoor seating. Perfect for us. Plus music daily! We all enjoyed it and the food was great too.
I didn't even notice this sign. Dad did. That's exactly what he did...grabbed a beer. Couldn't run like hell, but that was ok. He was perfectly safe right where he was! And he knew it. I called multiple times the week of Hurricane Matthew. The weather channels estimate was landfall somewhere close to Melbourne. The staff at Victoria Landing assured me that the building could withstand a Cat 4 hurricane, the windows are hurricane proof, they had plenty of food, generators and extra staff on hand. I told dad to eat the ice cream in his freezer in case the power went out. "Our power isn't going out" he told me, more than once. Then I told him to get a flashlight and put it next to his bed, in case the power went out in the middle of the night and he needed to go to the bathroom. "Our power isn't going out" he told me again. I also told his phone and I probably wouldn't be able to talk to him for a couple of days. All I can say is "Father Knows Best". I was up until 4 a.m. watching the weather channel. It came very close to land in Melbourne, but never made landfall. I was exhausted in the morning. But I called dad around 10 to see if I could get through. He answered the phone and said "I heard a little wind last night, but slept through it." Hmph. He slept through a hurricane and I was up all night worried about it!!!! I guess I should listen next time. Had an interesting conversation with Emily & Kevin about their preparations for the hurricane too. They live on the barrier island (not far from where we stay on the beach). They had a mandatory evacuation and ended up going to St. Petersburg for the weekend. They packed up anything they didn't want to lose (their kids wanted to take all of their toys), Kevin took a couple of tubs to work, and they took all their pictures off the walls. Fortunately, they had very little damage. Their was a lot of debris on the island, which is going to take months to get picked up - there were huge piles of debris up and down A1A - all the way to Sebastion. In dad's neighborhood, lots of debris and an uprooted tree. And Victoria Landing's power never went out. Father knows best :)
Monday night special - a double order of fish & chips for $1 more! Delicious! Dad & I shared :)
Dad & his buddy Ed at Happy Hour at Victoria Landing. Ed is a Navy man too!
Cincinnati Kelts 13th Annual Breast Cancer Fundraiser
Netti & Pauly did it again. This fundraiser seemed to be the best attended yet. Hoping that the Cincinnati Enquirer does the story - it's supposed to be in the works as we speak. Don't know when it will be published yet.
Another successful fundraiser and a surprise to boot...Pauly presented me with Fort's Hall of Fame Jacket. Very emotional. She would be SO honored (embarrassed, but honored!)
Donny & Kat. Her dad has made the breast cancer ribbons for every fundraiser! Thanks Kat's dad!
Pauly, me, Netti. The best organizers EVER.
Fort's blazer. Someday I'll tell the story about Fort & blazers.
Fort often ended a post with something about Andrew. So I try to do the same...only now it's Andrew & Max.
That's Max in the middle. They were lining up right in front of us. I love unposed pictures!
Pamma & Max
Our friends Carolyn & Randi came to Andrew's game.
of course so did Pamma & PopPop
Funny story about Max. He's been texting me a lot lately on his iPad. Yesterday he texted me and said "I'm on the bus."
Last week we were texting back and forth and I was saying goodbye and I said "I love you SO much" and Max said "I love you more than the supermarket"...?????
Not sure what that means, but yesterday he texted the same thing. I guess that's a lot. I HOPE that's a lot. Silly boys....
I was up for every sunrise on the beach. Great way to start the day.
As beautiful as the sunrise is on the beach - I think it's more beautiful over the mountains. I stopped at 7 a.m. to take this photo. It was on our way home from Florida, in the mountains in Tennessee.
Life is good.