21 November 2013
Dead in Panama
One of the strangest conversations I ever had with Dad, and there were some strange ones, concerned my being killed in Panama. Dad was informed by my mother, who, according to Dad, seemed to be on another planet. She approached him in our backyard where he had set up a radial arm saw and spent as much time as he possibly could cutting wood and avoiding people.
"John's dead." she said. "What?" he said, turning off the saw. "John's dead. It happened early this morning." He was stunned. How could it have happened? And then he remembered I was in Panama. He knew it could have happened any number of ways and plenty ran through his head.
He looked at her and said, "Our son's not supposed to die before us." She cocked her head, "What are you talking about?" "John," he said. "You said he was dead." "No," she said. "My uncle -- John -- he died this morning." "Oh," he said. She turned and walked back into the house. He switched the saw on and grabbed another piece of plywood.