« Side By Side Toilets For Better Conversation | Main | Kolkata IS Calcutta »

Born With a Rusty Spoon: Episode 78

...we watched in surprise as P.G., who was holding his old cowboy hat in his right hand, slapped it lightly against his leg, shuffled his boot clad feet and looked straight into the doctor's eyes.

"Well, thank you, sir," he said without flinching...

Artist Bertie Stroup Marah tells how her step-father received the news that he was seriously ill.

In April, 1990, seven years after P.G. was operated on, his cancer returned. Shortly after that, because the economy was better, Mike and I moved back to Colorado from California and I made frequent trips to New Mexico during the next year. Because of his drinking and irresponsible actions in the past, I perceived my stepfather to be a weak person. I was surprised at the way he handled the news of his impending death, as well as the way he conducted himself in his last months of life. I felt badly that I had misjudged him.

I was there in Albuquerque the day the doctors pronounced his death sentence. My sisters and I were standing with Mama when the doctor delivered the results of their tests. Because he had always cried about things that happened to those he loved, we were expecting him to break down. Instead, we watched in surprise as P.G., who was holding his old cowboy hat in his right hand, slapped it lightly against his leg, shuffled his boot clad feet and looked straight into the doctor's eyes.

"Well, thank you, sir," he said without flinching.

If he ever shed a tear it was in private. He started hoarding his money for Mama to use after his death. He made his own funeral arrangements and seemed to meet his fate without fear. I suspect this fearlessness may have been because he knew he had never deliberately hurt others, he craved no material things, and he had always been true to Mama and to his word.

In the last few months before he died, P.G. didn't complain about how he felt and he continued to display a sense of humor. I was there when he answered the phone and someone asked to speak to Dr. Bea Anderson. P.G. mischievously glanced at Mama, "You must have the wrong number, my Bee only went to the third grade."

While watching the Winter Olympics ice skating competition, P.G. turned to me and frowned. "How do they determine the winner? Is it based on who can hold the woman above his head, with his hand up her ass for the longest time without getting a hard on?" A few years later the Olympic Committee ruled that immodest maneuvers would no longer be allowed in competition. Obviously P.G. was ahead of the others in spotting this problem.

The doctors described to P.G. how the cancer would kill him by eating through the pulmonary artery, causing him to bleed to death. Sure enough, on March 11, 1991, as he was getting ready for bed one evening, he started hemorrhaging. He attempted to run outside to avoid bleeding on everything, but got only as far as the doorway before he dropped dead.

**

To buy a copy of Bertie's wonderful book please visit
http://www.amazon.com/Born-Rusty-Spoon-Artists-Memoir/dp/1935514660/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1282226141&sr=1-1-fkmr0

To see some of her pictures click on
http://www.google.co.uk/images?hl=en&q=bertie+stroup+marah+pictures&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=univ&ei=5vpkTNykBtKR4gbsgJmWCg&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&ct=title&resnum=1&ved=0CBUQsAQwAA

Categories

Creative Commons License
This website is licensed under a Creative Commons License.