What a Good Life I've Had
by Scott B. Carpenter
It's interesting what a little, annoying, unexplained pain in your chest can do to a man. Oh, I don't mean debilitating pain, and it's not like I'm being overcome with fear. I'm sobered. No. Not in the inebriated sense. I guess I'm just thinking more seriously about my life at this moment.
I mean, I'm feeling the tightness in my chest even as I type. Why am I not trying to do something about it? First of all, I'm lulled into a sense of denial. That's normal... isn't it?
(Wait just a minute).... My 5 year old son just came into the room to show me the picture he had just colored. It was beautiful. And he stayed in the lines, too. Where was I...? Oh, yes. Secondly, I looked for some Bayer aspirin, but we didn't have any. And, thirdly, we are right in the middle of a good snow storm, and since we live on a hill, there's really no way out. Although, before the pain began earlier this morning, I was able to shovel my daughter out when she got stuck half way up in her little white car. She and I had a wonderful time making memories in that potentially stressful situation. I fishtailed up the hill, as she gripped the seat, parked her car safely down the road, and we laughed all the way back to the house. We laughed about the snow up the legs of her nursing scrubs, and me still in my Pepsi pajama bottoms.
(Hold on a second).... my dog, Hobson, just slipped into my room, propped his big ole paws up on my bed, licked my hand then laid down beside me. He's a good dog. I got him on Christmas day. No, he didn't pop out of a gift wrapped box. That would have been easy. I, and three of my daughers, traveled 7 hours down to North Carolina to my niece's house to pick him up. Believe me, I wasn't planning that trip. And I wasn't at all sure that I was going to get the dog. You see, my dear wife doesn't like inside dogs.... at all. But on Christmas morning, after we had opened our presents, she insisted I go and get him. I did. What a trip! The weather was absolutely miserable the whole way down and back. We missed Christmas dinner, of all things! But Hobson did traveled well, slobbering all the way. I think my wife is falling in love with this big, clumsy pup. Can't be sure, though.
(Sorry for another interruption).... she just waltzed into the room to brag about the sandwich she was enjoying. Earlier I had taken the last of the home-made, deluxe, chicken salad and eaten it on rye. She was upset that I didn't leave her any and so she made a fresh batch. She is a precious woman. I've heard men make statements to the effect, that they "married up" in status, or that they didn't know how they captured the affection of their wives... but I know. I'm good to her. I not only tell her that I love her, but I show her many times over. She is so special that I don't ever want her to have to wonder what life would be like in some other setting... without me. After all, I'll never be on anyone's list of "Top Ten Men in America". I can't give her a big house or an expensive car..., but I can rub her feet several evenings a week. I can give her a little yard where she plants her garden. And I can ooh and aah over her raspberries and green beans when they come in. I can tell her how beautiful she is to me. I can even keep my clothes picked up off the floor... mostly. Maybe do the dishes every once in a while. I can also love our 10 children.
Yes! 10 wonderful, God-blessed children! Don't judge us wrongly. Be assured, we do know what causes it. We had only planned, in our younger years, to have one or two. We realized, as each one came and grew, that we loved children. What can I say? My wife now has a living garden of blessings growing right inside our home; though some have grown up and gone, now. They are all wonderful additions to our society. And we have grandchildren. The debate rages on what to call us - simply Grandma and Grandpa or, uniquely, Grammy and Poppy. The latter addresses seem to be winning out, to my older son's dismay.
(Just a minute).... my wife came in to take my blood pressure... she's a certified nursing assistant and her dad was a family doctor in a little West Virginia community. It's in her blood. Hmm, it's a little high.... I just jumped onto a medical website which told me I'm in the early stages of "hypertension", but I don't seem to be in any immediate danger. I'll lay off the salt and keep walking; I'll be fine. Maybe I just pulled a muscle in my chest while I was shoveling. Yes, perhaps that's the source of my pain. I'm not as young as I used to be, you know. I probably need to remember to stretch these tired, aging muscles of mine; I don't want to hurt myself. I mean... I still have a lot of life to live.