I’m now well into my 95th year and haven’t yet heard the owl call my name. Whispers, hints, suggestions – yes, but marching orders, dated tickets or scheduled events – no. Oh yes, just one scheduled event. I’ve asked the Old Lyme Fire department to transport my remains to the Lily Pond section of the Duck River Cemetery, when my time comes, on the bed of the Ward – La France firetruck.
Actuaries have me in their sights and funeral parlors, nursing homes and retirement retreats all clamor for my attention. On the other hand, I still get asked to offer eulogies for friends far younger than I. How does this come to pass? I don’t know but I do speculate.
First, I never participated in contact sports. Second, I never in the last 60 years or so worked for a living. Yes, I did work but only to satisfy a curiosity or better explain something or tell an interesting story or to help some people in need or to correct an injustice. These were the challenges.
How I resolved them was, I realize now, the force that motivates me to keep going. I do believe that were I to do nothing I could easily be nothing. That is to state that for me life without a challenge, a goal, is not worth the effort – and at my age the very effort of getting through ‘til tomorrow is a considerable effort.
I’m glad to note that our culture takes note of what others did and saw and contemplated on. I’m glad it gets recorded and I’m sad that we, most of us, don’t have the time or inclination to read, or listen to, what we have inherited.
Mervin at the Rockefeller Garden
Memorial Service for Douglas Chapman
Seal Harbor, Mt. Desert Island, Maine