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“Stay until he tells you to leave. He’s been looking forward to this.”
Al looked wasted and talking made him tired. But he made the effort it took to brief me. The essential piece was … the doctors had given up on chemo and other treatments that morning. He was now a hospice patient.
I couldn’t think of anything to say so I merely nodded.
“Now,” Al said, as though that were all housekeeping stuff and he was relieved to be done with it. “Are you busy? You have to be anywhere in the next couple of hours?”
“Let’s take a ride.”
A friend of his was building a boat, he explained when we got in my car, and he wanted me to see it. The boat wasn’t really important, though; the drive was the point. Motion was still his mantra, it seemed, and maybe it gave him some relief.
We talked about small things. It would not have been Al if he’d tried to run some transcendent insight on me. In one of those conversations he would get into with my friends in Vermont, someone had once asked him if he had any regrets about those five and a half years, “what with the way the war turned out, you know.”
“I’m an old fighter pilot,” Al said, shaking his head. “The way I look at it, the blue sky behind you is just wasted air space.”
Before I left that day, Al said, “When will you be back?”
“Couple of months.”
“I’ll hang on that long.”
“Then I’ll see you in a couple of months.”
He didn’t make it. Before I even opened the card with the Pensacola postmark, I thought of the line from some old song — “Another good man gone.”
Then I said, out loud so he could hear it, “Bye, Al.”
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?