Oscar Schlegel

Oscar Schlegel, one of my Masonic brothers, asked me to take him to the barbershop yesterday. I often offer to do things for people but am seldom taken up on them. I had been craving beer for days, so I bought a case of Pabst on the way. I chose Pabst because the can looks like it did when I was a boy—and because it was on sale. Otherwise, I would have gotten Busch because I like the mountains on the label, and because that’s the brand that I drank when I was first married and considered it grown-up to come home and pop a cold one. I soon gave it up because I never much liked beer. My favorites are the ones that are as black as coffee, but they cost too much. Peggy says I should indulge myself, but I don’t enjoy indulging with things that are gone in a few minutes. If I were to indulge, it would be with hard liquor.

I am almost done repaving the patio; a hot weekend is expected; and I look forward to sitting outdoors with a beer or two. It will make up to an extent for our decision to stay home this weekend. Peggy suggested that I continue hiking until the knee wears out, and then get an artificial one. I agreed until I found out how flimsy artificial knees are. Then too, I can’t enjoy hiking when I am in pain and laboring under the realization that every step takes me that much closer to surgery.

I hope to at least make my knee last until winter because I have a lot of outside work to do this summer. If I can make it last a few more years, that will be even better. Despite my doctor’s pessimism, I hold to the hope that artificial cartilage will be perfected sooner rather than later.

After his haircut, I brought Oscar home for lunch, and then he took Peggy and me to see the assisted care facility where he lives. He said he will die soon without heart surgery, but his doctor won’t operate because of his age (92). Every time I see him, his lungs are a little more congested and his breathing a little more labored. Otherwise, he is in good shape. I assume a significant lessening of the faculties in old people, so it’s disconcerting to speak loudly and in simple sentences to someone who looks back at me like I’m an idiot. I told him yesterday (as if he needed to know) that aging challenges a person’s creativity because he has to find new activities to replace the ones he used to enjoy but can no longer do. Oscar agreed. I hope he will call on me more.

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