Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Pop had a rough couple of days. And today we had to make that trek to the hospital to see his main Oncologist. The doctor had some blood tests run, and when the numbers came back, they were very encouraging. That seemed to be just what Pop needed to hear. His spirits lifted a lot.

We had a long ride home, and got back in the dark. When we went inside, I asked him if he wanted to eat anything. (he has gained 1 pound, incidentally) He said that he felt like having pancakes, so I whipped up a short stack for him.

The kitchen table is situated by a glass sliding door onto the yard. Now that the leaves are gone out there, you can see the highway off in the distance. Pop sat facing that door.

I left the room a minute, and when I came back, I was out of his sight, so he didn't know I'd returned. I stood watching him a minute.

It made me think, seeing this man with his plate of pancakes and a cup of coffee. He was just eating quietly and looking out the window. He had a simple look of contentment on his face as he ate. And it made me think.

You know, no matter what the timeframe might be, eventually there will come a day where Pop won't be around anymore. I think about the time he has, and occasionally can't help thinking that this might be the last time he does this or that. His world has become very small, and it all revolves around things like finding a good program on TV, or getting a solid night's sleep, or a blanket that's just warm enough, you know? The news comes on, then Leno follows, then maybe the pain medicine kicks in just the right way. And then perhaps he gets to sleep.

Trust me, this isn't some Hallmark movie going on here. There are those occasional head-butting bouts, and the irritations (or worse, like when he recently pulled a pot of boiling water over onto me). But we're like any other family, good days, bad days, ok days. It's just, well, the time is something that's not quite taken for granted as much lately.

And at the end of the day, those pancakes can be some pretty important things to Pop, especially if I warm the syrup just right.

These days, those pancakes are made just a little more carefully. And the syrup gets done right, you know?


  1. Seriously, I want to hire you as my cook. And who doesn't love pancakes?

    Pop is so lucky to have you, Hallmark movie or not. I hope I have someone even remotely interested in taking care of me in my old age.

  2. Gaboatman6:51 AM

    I agree with Kristen, Pop is really lucky to have you. You have the ability to see beyond the moment and the compasion to really care.

    No, perhaps it is not a Hallmark movie, but life never really is, is it? What it is, though,is something dear and precious thrown in with the taxing and mundane. It takes a special person to pick out those precious moments and treasure them.

  3. Pop is a lucky man to have you caring for and watching over him. I'm glad you share your insights on the little things that make a big difference - warmed syrup, things done 'just right' - I wonder how many things I do halfway and cheat myself out of the experience. I do, however, always cut sandwiches in triangles. Because you know if someone makes the effort to cut the sandwich in triangles, you're loved. :)

  4. Anonymous2:47 PM

    im so glad that pop has you in his life.

    we are all lucky to have you

    you mean so much to so many


  5. Anonymous3:27 PM

    Honestly, I think you are both lucky to have each other right now.

    Enjoy those perfect pancakes with warmed syrup while you can.

    Not all days will be this sweet but, the memories of days like this can get you through tougher periods.


  6. I want to be as good to my Pop when the time comes as you are to him. He's a very lucky man to have you there. Now you have me wanting pancakes. ;)
    Great entry!

  7. Anonymous6:16 PM

    I have been chronically ill for a long time. It has been my biggest blessing and curse. Illness has a way of illuminating the FACT that we're all mortal. Things are sweeter when we know they're fleeting. Your Pop is teaching you valuable lessons, pass them on to your kids.

    I had pancakes tonight too! There is something soothing about them. I think they transport us back to childhood innocence, our moms making them for us on a cold winter morning. I think they taste even better when someone else makes them for you though!

    To all the posters here, no need to wait until a loved one is ill or old to be kind to them, start NOW!!!

  8. You Sir, have the heart of an angel. What you've described here is exactly why I tell the people in my life that I love them as much as I can. ;) C.

  9. Very sweet....


  10. THank you for sharing this...it's helping me with a situation that I am in.
    Things have been stressful, but maybe I just need to see your situation to appreciate what I have...follow?
    You are such a blessing, Jimmy!!!


  11. Anonymous9:07 PM

    What a blessing you are!


  12. Hi Jimmy,
    You're so right ... one day you'll look back on these days and can be proud that you gave your father the perfect pancake moment. Makes me think I should spend more time with my parents ... they're in good health but it's never to early to savor a perfect pancake or two.

  13. Pop is very lucky to have you. And yes those pancakes can be the most important thing in the world right now. Linda

  14. Anonymous7:27 AM

    Yes those pancakes could possibly be THE most important thing in the world right now! Pop is very lucky to have someone who realizes that. Your a very good man. Linda

  15. chat2missie10:46 AM

    Pop is so lucky to have you in his life! From now on, when I eat pancakes, I will think of your pop!


  16. I can't tell you how hard I had to fight back crying here. I know exactly what you're talking about. I watched both of my grandfathers pass away. Those moments, where you think "last time"... those, I think, hurt the worst.

    ::hugs:: You're a good man Jimmy, for giving Pop his pancakes.


  17. My Pop died last year around this time from his 8th stroke. I took care of him for 4 years prior to that and the last year was by far the most challenging. I was touched by the beauty of your words in describing how something like pancakes can make all the difference.
    For Pop, in the end, it was watching Ravens football. And if it wasn't Sunday, I'd put in a tape of old games that I had wisely (although I didn't know that at the time) begun recording at the beginning of the season. He didn't know the difference. He just thought everyday was Sunday and LOVED it!
    Thank you for writing this!
    Mary Jo

  18. I think these moments are kind of like gifts to help keep us going. I'm glad you got one. I'm sure you won't regret this effort you're making. You are a good man.

  19. Anonymous9:37 PM

    Beautiful! Brought a tear or six :) You paint such a picture, like I'm there. You are lucky to share the moments. Glad that Pop is feeling a wee bit better!
    xoxo ~Myra

  20. Jimmy, I am hearing you loud and clear on your Dad, I have felt that way too ever since my Dads cancer. He went for tests the other day and it's still in remmision. I too think like you and try my best to make his and my Mums, just that little bit more special.
    Keep making those pancakes mate.

  21. Me likey that picture of the pancakes. YUM.


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