I went to get a haircut today, and that always reminds me of my Dad. My Dad was 96 when he died, and the last couple of those years he was blind, in a wheelchair and living in a nursing home. But no matter his situation or how he felt, if I asked him how he was, he always said, “I count my blessings.” He had a black, cordless phone with extra-large push buttons and, though blind, had no trouble dialing. Isn’t it interesting that we still say “dialing” even though no-one has dialed for forty years? He had memorized the phone numbers of all his grandchildren and everyone else he needed, and the phone worked great until he placed the thing in a glass of water instead of its cradle. He immediately asked me to get him a new one exactly like the old one.
I went to the store and they were out of black, so I bought the same phone in white. When I plugged it in, he asked me if it was black. No, I said, it’s white. He said he didn’t want it. I reminded him he was blind and couldn’t tell the difference. He told me to take it back and get a black one. Now most of you are wondering why I didn’t just lie to him and tell him the white one was really black. I didn’t because I knew he would have asked the next nurse who came in to tell him what color the phone was. Don’t ever lie to your dad.
In the place he lived, there was a barber shop and beauty salon in the lobby for the convenience of the residents. But every three weeks my Dad called a cab and traveled fifteen miles to his barber. When I asked him why, he said he liked the way his barber did his hair. I reminded him once again that he was blind and could not see his hair. “But I can tell,” he said. And so getting my hair cut reminds me of him. By the way, I travel about twenty miles to the same barber I have used for decades. When I worked, he was near my office. Now I’m retired and not in a hurry one bit, so I get in my car and drive the twenty miles just to go to my same guy. He does a good job. I can tell.