The good news is that my brother has agreed to take my dad in, if he chooses, when we move to Honduras at the end of summer. The less good news–at least as far as my dad is concerned–is that this same brother is planning to quit his firefighting job and join us next April.
Dad is 82 and less than a year past triple bypass surgery. I understand, as much as a 48-year-old can, that this is a particularly crazy move from his perspective. What I’ve asked him to understand, however, is that he was exactly 48 when he quit his own job, got in his truck, and drove away without explanation. A week later we received a long-distance phone call saying he’d just purchased an apple orchard in Tonasket, Washingon; a town whose name, we later discovered, he had not yet learned to pronounce correctly.
So yes, it’s in the blood.
The fact is my dad started life in what may as well have been the Third World. He was raised in an inner-city Catholic orphanage during the Depression. This seemed to shape his world-view forever as he spent most of his life working harder than anyone I know in order to barely squeak into the middle-class. Function and simplicity seemed to be his standard for everything from the houses he lived in (usually built with his own two hands), to the clothes he wore, to the food he ate. He was never comfortable in a late-model car.
My dad deserves First World comfort in his final years. It is not an option to jeopardize his safety or security in pursuing our own dream. This fact will force Diana, my brother and me to do our homework and proceed cautiously. Something we would be less likely to give proper attention to otherwise.
By the way, despite his advanced age my dad does have one distinct advantage over us. He’s pretty much deaf, so he can spare himself the Spanish lessons.