Every morning when I wake up, I will see something, hear something, read something, smell something, feel something, remember someone. My first impulse is to call him on the phone. He was an early riser, lived alone and by nine o’clock he was in his garden, trimming something, cutting back, replanting. In the summer it was a riot of colour and texture but in Autumn, that’s when it really came in to its own because that’s when the raspberries, the strawberries, the blackcurrants, the blueberries, the gooseberries, the apples and the pears appeared, in abundance too. Then, without thinking, I pick up my phone and hit the speed dial number to call him, say hello, tell him I might drop out to pick up some fruit and I wanted to make sure he’d be there when I called. He never goes out, not anymore, not in the last two years, anyway. It exhausted him to walk half a distance he often covered five times in the same day. It became a ritual, not reminding him he couldn’t do those things anymore. But you could never stop him gardening or reciting poetry, mostly the Bard.
Then I’m reminded not to phone him, because he’s gone. It’s a hard lesson, but I’m learning
. Today’s his birthday. He would be 94. Happy birthday, Marty.