“Susie, he’s trying to kill himself,” shouted my mother, leaning over her balcony.
“Well he hasn’t succeeded,” I shouted back.
The gentle whirring sound was still going so I put my garden tools aside and walked next door to where my father was sitting on his very old exercise bike.
“I’m feeding my brain,” my father explained in response to my arrival. “I read that laboratory animals do better at solving complicated problems when they have a wheel to work out on.”
“So now I am living with an 85 lab rat. You silly old fool,” my mother said in exasperation. “Perhaps we should offer his body to the local Veterinary School,” I suggested.
There is a certain amount of vanity in all this effort and my sister has a lot to blame for it. She told Dad about a ‘young looking’ chaplain who officiated at a recent funeral of an 80 year-old. The 90 year old chaplain told her he kept fit by swimming a couple of times a week. So guess who insisted on accompanying me to the local pool to swim 500 metres yesterday. I was so worried my father would disappear beneath the water and not come up I couldn’t concentrate on my own laps.
He survived the swim and has now joined the health centre, delighted with the discount the manager gave him due to his age. I wish she had doubled it.
He plays bridge, 18 holes of golf a couple of times a week, now swims and is walking the dog around the neighbourhood befriending other dog owners. He is determined to defy the Gods of Old Age anyway he can. Good luck to my old man I say and I hope I can do the same.