As I Approach Eighty

I approach eighty living on this beautiful island, and probably will finish up here. Over half my life I have been living here in paradise. To get here and stay here I sinned a lot, but it has been worth it. Unless, of course, when I quit this world I have to pay for those sins, as at least one of my daughters seems to believe.

Nobody really knows about that, I suppose. And in any case there’s nothing to change the past, and I’m not one to look for forgiveness, so I will just have to face the music.

The Gospel According to Sr. Patrick

In Spain everyone is born with two last names. The first is your fathers’ (first) last name, and the second is your mother’s (first) last name.

So if I were born in Spain of Spanish parents, my name would be James Patrick Meadows Toombs. But in fact I was born in West Virginia and my name is James Patrick Meadows.

So for two reasons I am called Sr. Patrick. One, it fits the custom of naming. Two, no one wants to pronounce my last name. Meadows would be said may-AH-dos, which means “he pisses” in Spanish.

(From a file dated 19 Feb 2014.)

Simple Human Nature

It must be human nature to question the future, to try to envision what the world would be like after we’re gone. We wonder how people would respond to our absence, curious as to what factors might affect their reactions. Would they grieve less for suicides than for those who fall in sporting accidents? Do tears flow more freely upon the battlefield than in crumpled, burned-out cars? Would they burden themselves with misplaced guilt, thinking they could somehow have influenced one person’s small history?

It must be human nature to pose these queries. As we approach the time when the faithful fade to nothing and thus reveal the fallacy of their beliefs, these questions must be asked.

Or, in the unlikely reversal of philosophy of the practical minds who failed to fall for the hypocrisies of religion, but nonetheless discover the glory of an afterlife, the questions still drip from dying tongues, unanswered to all but those who are gone.

Each of us imagines how others would react, but each of us might be surprised at the actual result of such an inevitable and irreversible experiment.

Historians study the past, scientists measure the present, doctors heal and artists reveal, all in a quest to comprehend the future.

It’s simple human nature.

I wrote this on 19 Feb ‘3 while eating lunch at Lupe’s. I came across the written manuscript this morning and thought it has a place here on Patrick and Stephanie’s web site.