Reminiscences of a Happy Man
Copyright Vladimir Kagan, October 8, 2013
The Birthday Party
My wonderful children, Jessica, Vanessa and Illya with Dad
Gigi my granddaughter with friend Lucy the Bass-fiddle player in the band taking a break
Me with friends young and old
all phtos by Larry Cronin
My summer has been a hoot! I am physically in better shape than I have been in years! I exercise daily using eight-pound weights, cycle for 30 minutes (though going no where on my stationary bike). I sail my boat regularly; I tootle about in the Model T, I swim and happily skip about on my two canes. (I’ve virtually retired my walker.) I enjoy flirting with younger women and dine with ladies of my own age…I drink my daily martini or a glass of beer and love listening to my favorite Coq au Vin band until closing hours at Pazzo… Life is a bowl of cherries!
How dare I, who have so much - complain? Can’t walk? Who cares, I ran all of my life...
Skiing is the one sport I miss the most, but standing on top of a Swiss mountain last winter, how happy I was not to have to plunge down it’s scary slopes!
Flying? Yes, I loved the freedom of taking off - in control of my life’s fear of height.
Travel is less appealing than it was.
Accolades and fame continue to come my way though they are less significant in my life.
I work because I love it; I work because it keeps me alive; I work because work is a part of my existence. I will work as long as my creative juices keep flowing...
Old friends: they unfortunately diminish in numbers exponentially... It is good to have young friends; they will be there to cheer you along.
Family is a wonderful thing; they are there when you need them; giving back for all the care you gave them, (though my children tell me that I was not the world’s exemplary father)... Our motto was “Intelligent neglect” it worked then; I don’t recommend it for their offspring.
Health is wealth. I am blessed with having all of my faculties and vitals in fine working order. I have a “spare tire”! Earlier this year they installed a pacemaker; this keeps me ticking along at 60 RPMs per minute. My birthday gift is life!
Illusions and Delusion : False Hopes and little Lies
I have sometimes willed myself to be in love... the heart seeks comfort. Self-delusion is a panacea. The ego rejoices with a kind word; a friendly peck - a smile, a wink, a nod. How quickly the spirit is lofted to higher plateaus… Expectations go virile. Ah, what falsehoods the heart creates. Humored by well meaning friends, how blindly we follow our muse. Hope is not eternal; reality is. So unrequited yearnings lead the heart to believe what does not exist. Happiness exists only in the mind and vanishes in an instant. Why pursue the unattainable? Oh, how yearning belies reality. Does love go down in defeat? Is it only in the mind? The heart ventures where the mind dare not go. There is comfort in pursuit... little lies smooth the way and yes, hope doth hold sway over reality.
The Exclusive W & W Club
I belong to an exclusive club that has no dues, no meetings, and no waiting membership queue ... I did not choose to be a member... membership was bestowed upon me. The W&W Club is egalitarian and all-inclusive. The acronym stands for The Widow & Widower's Club. We did not join voluntarily - membership was bestowed upon us. We have much in common. We have suffered the loss of a spouse. For some, this loss came quickly, for others only after months and years of suffering. Sharing this common loss makes us kindred spirits. We have learned to deal with hospitals, caregivers, hospices, and undertakers. Suffered through endless condolences, religious services, memorial services, speeches, and well meaning hugs bestowed upon the bereaved. We grin and bear these kind gestures. We smile; we laugh, and reassure our families and friends that we are grateful for their love and support. We appreciate all who care so much about us… But deep in our hearts we are alone... in our beds we are alone... we wake at 3 in the morning to emptiness and can't wait for the daylight to filter in.
We do not know most of our fellow members but each of us has felt the other's pain. There are some who feel abandoned by God, others who find solace in His presence. Some find happiness in a chance meeting, other bond through common loss; still others discover long lost loves that reappear eons after having forgotten their existence. Some live only with their memories and the closeness of family and friends. Life has not granted all a second chance. Whether happiness strikes twice or survive alone in this word, all of us live with the memories of times gone forever. We share a camaraderie we wish on no one. In each other's company there is an unspoken sharing... it is the knowledge that there are thousands, neigh, millions who share our grief. It is life itself.
I have found friendships in the knowledge of our common loss. We dare to share the unspeakable because we have been there. It is a comfort to know that you are not alone….