We went to visit my dad today, after church and naps (more on church, perhaps, later). He had been home for a few days, but is now back in the nursing home while my mom travels to the Southwest to move out of their home there.
This is good news: they've been trying to sell their place for a long time. Last spring they had already decided that last year was the last year they'd be able to go down. But the market has made their home difficult to sell, and that has been worrisome.
My mom called and told me to be sure to let my dad know that she got there ok. So that was the first thing I told him when we arrived.
He was watching football, and was a little confused at first. I don't think he remembered who my husband was for a few minutes, until he laughed. We didn't do any singing today, but we told a few jokes, and he made a few puns. I told him the joke I told one of our third graders after the Bible class yesterday: "What's the longest word in the English language?" Answer: "Smiles. Because there's a mile between each "s"."
At one point he blurted out: "I miss being Santa Claus."
Shortly after he retired many years ago, he played Santa Claus at a Famous Local Department Store. He did this for a couple of years, made a little extra money, and got to dress up. My neice and nephew visited him, and he pretty much had them fooled, except that my neice (about 4 at the time) said that "Santa Claus kinda smells like grandpa."
When I asked him what he missed about being Santa Claus, he said, "The children."
To tell you the truth, I kind of miss him being Santa Claus, too.
I also miss how he used to sit on our beds and say prayers with us when we were little. He would often pretend that he was Methusalah, the World's Oldest Man. He told us that he remembered all the people from Bible Days, but he was so old, that he would fall asleep while we were praying, and we would kick him to wake him up.
I miss how he put peanut butter on our toast for us.
I miss how good he was at speaking with different accents, not only the Swedish accent he grew up with, but also with a great Irish brogue, or a yiddish accent. He also did a pretty fair Maurice Chevalier and Ronald Colman. He could sing like Bing Crosby. But he only knew the first lines of all the songs, so he made up different words.
I miss those theological discussions we had when I was a teenager. Often they took place while we were driving in the car. They often had to do with why some people suffered, and other people were not visited by tragedy. My dad would often say that it wasn't right to say that "God spared me," as if God were not with the people who had to go through hard times as well.
Today when we visited my dad, he said that he missed being Santa Claus. When I asked him why, he said, "the children." But when I tried to ask him more about what he liked about being Santa Claus, he lost his train of thought, and we had to go on to something else.