Hi kids. Sorry for my absence on the front page and with the podcast I co-host here with Di Murphy. Real life has a way of intruding on the fun stuff, and unfortunately, it will for awhile longer. A couple years back I wrote a piece about the health of my Dad, who a lot of you have come to like through the ‘Don Glover Quote Of The Week’ on the Stock Market Report.
The weekly SMR quotes are a glimpse into what watching a game with him is like, or was like, and it was my fervent hope that once his health started to slip, we could witness just one Super Bowl victory together before he had to cash in his chips, as it were.
That’s not going to happen, unfortunately.
Dad will be entering Hospice within the next few days, and it’s doubtful he’ll be here by the time the playoffs start. Cancer has taken over his lungs, prostate, and his lower back. There’s no stopping it, and a combination of surgery and chemotherapy/radiation would only end up putting him in the hospital for what time he does have left, more than likely.
All we can do is keep him as comfortable as we can, and out of the hospital, for as long as possible.
But we know how this will end.
Sunday, January 9th, 1977, Pasadena, California. Super Bowl XI: It’s early in the 4th quarter, and the Vikings were down 19-7, but they were finally driving. They were down to the Oakland 35, and the 10 year old kid in me, ever hopeful, thought ‘a TD here, a three and out, and another quick score, and it’s anyone’s game again.’
But it was not to be. Fran Tarkenton was intercepted by Willie Hall on the Raiders 35, and he returned to to about midfield. Three plays later Ken Stabler hit Fred Biletnikoff on a 48 yard catch and run that has been immortalized by NFL Films, and he wasn’t brought down until he was inside the Vikings five. One play later the Raiders were up 26-7, and even though there was over eight minutes left, the game was over. We watched the rest of the game, hoping against hope, but we knew what the outcome was going to be. There was no doubt. We knew how this would end.
He’s been as stoic about this as he has when he was diagnosed with dementia. The problem I’m finding is that I have to explain the same brutal things several times, some over the course of several days, and it cuts a raw nerve for me every time.
It’s like stumbling across that Josh Freeman Monday night game on YouTube, and watching it over and over again.
But for my Dad, every time is the first time for him when he receives the news again, and he’s as stoic as he can be.
‘Son, then so be it. I’m 86, I’ve lived a good life, and I don’t have any regrets.”
Hell, when I talked to him about Hospice last night, he even cracked a joke.
“Dad, I talked to the Hospice nurse today. Do you know what Hospice is?”
“Yes son, I know.”
“Tell me what it is then. I want to make sure you know.”
“It’s for people that have cancer real bad and are going to die soon, right?”
“Yeah, Dad. That’s what it’s for. So why do you think I was talking to Hospice today?”
“Do you and the Hospice nurse have cancer real bad, son?”
He cracked a goofy little smile, and we had a good chuckle. And then we had a pretty frank discussion about Hospice, what that means, and all the other things you need to discuss when you’re coming to the end of your journey.
And at the end of it, we talked a little Vikings football, too. He asked about the new players, and who the quarterback was going to be this year. Once again, the Minnesota Vikings, and our love for this team, helped us through a pretty difficult time.
Whether or not he’ll come over for the games is really up in the air right now; I have a feeling he might make a game or two, but he really labors just walking down his hallway now, and navigating stairs might be a bridge too far. What games we get to see this year might only be the ones that are nationally televised that we could watch at his place. We’ll see.
The Minnesota Vikings have played an integral role in the relationship between me and Dad my entire life. Some of my earliest memories I have of him are either watching games with him at home and him letting me sneak a sip of Grain Belt beer, or going to a few games with him at the old Metropolitan Stadium.
Although the Vikings aren’t the story of this relationship, in many ways, especially in my idiot formative years, they were the spine that kept the book together, and kept the story going. The Vikings were always neutral ground, and it was almost always the instrument he used to get back to speaking terms with me, or helped me to get over something after I had done something moronic...or wanted to do something moronic.
It would play out something like this:
“Dad, I want to [insert moronic thing here].
“No. That’s the dumbest damn thing I’ve ever heard. You’d end up homeless under a bridge. Absolutely not.”
“RAWR RAWR RAWR LIFE IS SO UNFAIR AND YOU’RE MEAN AND BLAH BLAH BLAH RAWR RAWR RAWR.”
/time passes (anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple days, depending on the level of stupidity he stopped me from partaking in
“Hey son, did you see that article about Tommy Kramer? I really think he’s gonna cut down on those interceptions this year. Vikes are gonna be pretty tough, I think.”
And life would go on.
But soon, the curtain will drop, and he’ll be gone. We’re playing until the clock strikes 0:00, but we know what the outcome will be.
I’m going to miss him terribly.