Pops at 52, Castro Valley, CA.
Today my Pops turns 90. He has outlived more family members than he ever expected to, including younger sister, wife, first grandson. For as long as I can remember, he’d say, regarding his projected longevity: “Live ’til ninety, then start counting.”
We’re hoping the counting will go on for quite some time.
I remember taking the picture above some 38 years ago with my first camera, a Kodak Instamatic. I was roving around taking portraits of every family member, bipedal and quadrupedal, that would hold still long enough to let me. Â Most pictures were of my dog, and then later, landscapes on family trips. I remember that of all the family portrait subjects he was the most accomodating, but he had to get up and procure himself something to hold, so’s he was — I don’t know — more occupied. Kind of more official-seeming. I think he’s holding a baseball hat of mine. Hard to tell against the shouting-out-loud polyester cover we had on that couch.
Now he’s got a pugnacious Dupuytren’s contracture, a condition that bends the pinky and ring fingers in toward the palm. He would be able to hold that baseball cap now, but with a little more difficulty. Can’t play the piano anymore. When he remembers to put in his hearing aid, he is still never 100%. Whenever he knows he’s been asked a question, but didn’t quite hear its particulars, he answers, “Probably.” Which works pretty well in most circumstances. At a table with more than a few chatting people, he can make out that people are having a lively conversation, but often is challenged to identify exactly about what.