It was Father's Day, and I wanted to get an early start and get a few things done before my kids took me out for lunch.
While getting dressed, I thought of my friend's father who had died the previous Sunday. He also was diabetic but died from having cancer.
I knew he'd been slowly slipping away for weeks, but it crossed my mind that I wished Laura, my friend, could have had at least one more of those special Sundays -- one more Father's Day with him.
After getting dressed, my blood sugar dropped. That's just part of my life being diabetic. There was neither rhyme nor reason as to why it should drop, but it did.
Needing to have sugar quickly, I attempted to open a carton of orange juice with my shaking hands. That's one of the symptoms of low blood sugar, at least for me.
After spilling juice all over my clothes in trying to get the damn carton open, I quickly poured the juice into a glass and then slowly drank it.
As my sugar level slowly went up, I thought of my friend's father. I wondered how many times he'd gone through the exact same thing.
Because of my now sticky clothes, I had another task to get done: laundry. I changed clothes and got the washing machine going.
My daughter Jen arrived early. I had to put off the work I wanted to do before lunch, but that was fine. It's always a treat to see her.
She was carrying a huge tropical foliage plant, my Father's Day gift.
We found a spot just right for it in my study, discussed how to take care of it and talked about my desire not to kill this one.
After visiting with her and remembering I still had that load of laundry in the washer, I told myself I'd put those clothes in the dryer when I got back. We then got into Jen's Honda Civic and headed on over to O'Charley's in Western Hills, where my son Brandon was meeting us.
O'Charley's isn't a bad place at all. I'm not going to pick an expensive restaurant or a place I might like better and have my kids spend all kinds of money on me. I suppose most fathers think like this.
The ride to O'Charley's was tense -- tenseness I create in my own mind whenever I'm in an automobile with one of my kids driving. I can't explain it, because they're good drivers, but I can never get out of my head when they were younger and I was teaching them to drive.
Jen and Brandon are both in their twenties, but to me they're still young, still Driver's Ed material.
We arrived at O'Charley's, and Brandon soon joined us. He ordered some kind of breakfast dish, and Jen had four cheeseburgers that sort of look liked White Castles. I had the salmon, which was way overcooked. I kept my mouth shut.
Somehow the subject turned to fruit. My daughter brought up visiting my parents' farm back when they were alive and how good the fruit was they grew there. She can never find that same quality of fruit in a store.
I told them something I assumed she and Brandon both knew: Fruit is more delicious when it's allowed to ripen on the vine. The fruit you buy in the supermarket is picked half green so it won't rot before arriving at those supermarkets.
They didn't know, and I just had to laugh. Yes, my kids are true city slickers.
I decided to tell Brandon about my friend's father passing away. He also knows Laura, and I thought he needed to know.
The table turned sad for a while. I started to wonder how many Father's Days I had left with my kids. I wondered if they were thinking the same thing.
Brandon gave me a card with some money inside. Cash is always good. We visited a little more, and then it was time for my kids to get on with their busy lives.
There were hugs and kisses and "I love yous" in the parking lot, then Jen took me home. Again feeling tense in the car, I couldn't help but notice she almost ran a red light.
After I got home, I looked over my new tropical foliage plant thinking it might need watering. It didn't. I then turned on my laptop and started working on my novel.
When evening arrived, like a good diabetic soldier I tested my blood sugar and adjusted my insulin intake downward. I was going to have a light dinner and didn't want a repeat of the morning.
After eating, I worked some more, then started feeling tired. I went to the Internet and found the obituary for my friend's father. I read it three times.
I would be seeing Laura the next day. A lump formed in my throat.
In bed, I thought of my kids and those visits we made to my parents' farm and all that great fruit they let ripen on the vine. I thought of my dad.
I thought about how time passes so quickly. I also fleetingly thought of those clothes still in the washing machine.
They could wait until tomorrow. It had been a good Sunday.
Contact Larry Gross: firstname.lastname@example.org