Some things can't be orchestrated. They happen in their own time. When all the stars align. Today was one of those days.
We've been with Dad Hoeg for a week now, making sure his recovery stays on track. He honestly doesn't need us for much. We're mostly an insurance policy at this point, and we try to keep him company. I've done my best to plant leading questions and gently probe some family history, but all to no avail. He stays mum.
But after lunch Dad's tongue finally loosened. Something triggered a story, and before we knew it another followed. He got on a roll and was unstoppable. No need for us to encourage him, he had plenty of fascinating material. It didn't matter that some stories recycled within minutes, or that unrelated topics were spun together. Two hours later, we were still at the table with our dirty dishes in front of us – an unheard of transgression in a household where everything is tidied up immediately. But no one cared, and we were still listening intently.
I commenced making a batch of cookies thinking Dad was winding down, but no. He kept me company with more tales throughout the baking process. It was an afternoon of insight and delight. I happily abandoned my usual afternoon bike ride so as not to miss anything.
We took Dad to a pizzaria for dinner tonight. On the walls were pictures of New York City, baseball players and other memorabilia. That sent Dad down another trail of stories. We were fascinated as he related tales of the famous people he had treated or met during his many years of medical practice. I never knew that he had crossed paths with Judy Garland, or that Babe Ruth had been treated at the Duluth Clinic.
The whole mood of our visit was transformed today. While previously each day seemed so long and we wondered just how to fill it, this day flew by. We were taken on a number of journeys and privy to Dad's brush with the aristocracy and a life style of yesteryear. It was past 10pm by the time we all headed to bed – shockingly late for Dad.
Storytelling is a gift. And we were the grateful recipients today.