My Dad came home today from the hospital in full hospice care. He is on the “down wind leg” to use a sailing term, but in real life Dad flew bombers, and as a young teen, an old biplane in which he was smitten by the flying bug. Maybe it was getting up over the green valleys of his Tennessee farm house, from the poverty and depression era stress that he experience as a child. His eyes were always set on the far horizon and that dream eventually landed him in the Army Air Corps and a career as an Air Force pilot.
He is a High Flyer in many other ways, too. Though a country boy, he read Chaucer and Shakespeare and memorized the romantic poets whom he still quotes flawlessly today. Tonight for example, through his gurgling throat, lungs filling with fluid, and an oxygen tube in each nostril, he lapped up his favorite dessert (Dutch Chocolate Ice Cream) and quoted two verses of A Psalm of Life by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:
Tell me not in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou are, to dust thou returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.