Carry On...

Fred Uechi, packing a wild boar out of a South Kona forest.

He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.
— Clarence Buddington Kellan

Nearly seven years ago, I wrote about my dad on another blog and the same quote holds true today. There's a lot to be told about my mom, Clara, because she's a little social butterfly but Fred, at 86 years of age now, is quite content to sit and read, fill out Sudoku puzzles, or watch Rainbow Wahine Volleyball (on TV).  He uses a cane and a walker now but this old pig-hunting-back-packing attitude surfaces when you least expect it.

He's always been a use it till you lose it, Fred Sanford does McGyver type of man. I had an old '57 Chevy in high school and one day, when I noticed a change in my brakes, I told him, "My brake pedal goes down almost to the floor. What do I do?" He checked it out and then my auto mechanic father said, "Pump'em till it works." So I did. People are always appalled when I tell this story, but the brakes held. My brothers and I lived through it.

Last year, my parents' car failed a safety check because the treads on one tire were too low and the service station owner went out of his way to purchase and replace all tires at once. My mother sang praises for the care they received. A few months later, I learned from the station owner that Fred did not think three new tires were necessary, but they were. I thanked him. 

Now that Fred and Clara live at a retirement complex, transportation is a built-in service and they adore their driver. They sold their car last month and when we were discussing the selling points I said, "And, you have all new tires!"  Fred nudged me in the arm and said, "We didn't have to change them all, they were still good." I think I feigned a look of surprise.

I tell all this in hopes that you'll appreciate this next comment of his. Fred is a Type 2 diabetic and several small strokes have weakened his leg muscles. Walking is painfully slow and precarious. One Sunday, shortly after arriving at my home for dinner, we were looking at his swollen left foot. After a few exchanges, I ended with, "What are we going to do about this?" Then, as though referring to spongy brakes or low treaded tires he shrugged his shoulders and scrunched his face up and said, "It still works."

The man is consistent. He may no longer be able to carry a boar on his back but my dad's spirit is still strong. It works. Carry on.