In fact I just turned 63.
And though my father lived until he was 84 and my mother is still rockin' and rollin' at 94...
The hard-to-face-truth is, I've reached the age where it starts hitting you that maybe you'd better start taking care of business now, or at least start making a plan or two.
Of course, some things are easier to plan than others: you can write your will and plan your funeral and let your kids know where your money is just in case you drop tomorrow or live so long that where you can't remember where your money is.
But even if you manage to order your affairs down to the last detail and maybe even feel reasonably secure that your final wishes will be carried out as you dictated - and by the way, just so everybody knows, me, I want to be cremated then have my ashes scattered at the park at
Gahanna Creekside - there's one thing that not you or me or even the richest or most powerful person on the planet can dictate, and that's what people will say about us after we're gone. What we'll be remembered for. Our legacy.
All any of us can really do is hope that we'll be remembered for what we hope we'll be remembered for.
Which, I guess, begs the question: What do you hope to be remembered for? What would you like people to say about you after you've gone?
This is a question I've actually given some thought to. Subsequently I came up with an idea of what I'd like my legacy to be in the minds and hearts of those who'll remember me.
So, then, what is it that I hope my children, children-in-law, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and any other family and friends who happen to out-hang me will remember about me long after the last of my ashes have blown from Gahanna Creekside Park down Mill Street and up Route 670 towards downtown Columbus?
Do I hope they'll talk about what a wonderful, loving wife, what a wonderful, loving mother and grandmother, what a wonderful, loving sister and what a wonderful, loving friend I was, and how wonderful and loving and well-loved I was by everybody who knew me?
That's the kind of thing that gets said about everybody when they die. After you die people will say how wonderful and loving you were even if you had a jerky streak a mile wide. It's like the lowest common denominator. (Remember that great episode from "The Sopranos" when Tony soprano's mother Livia died and all her family was sitting around trying to scrounge up something nice to say about her?)
I'd rather be remembered for something meaningful. Something that made people happy. Something that was the essential me.
So I had this idea that I'd like to be remembered for my great sandwich.
Because I really can whip up a sandwich like none other.
And so I like to imagine the young ones sitting around together saying,
"Remember those great sandwiches (Patti, Mom, Grammie Patti, Aunt Patti) used to make? What did she used to put in them? Deli turkey, avocadoes, onions, tomatoes?"
"And didn't she used to throw in some olives?"
"And sometimes some grilled mushrooms?"
"And mayonnaise and that Hellman's dijonnaise mustard?"
"And remember how sometimes instead of deli turkey she'd use cheddar cheese, or left-over oven-fried chicken or roast beef or pork chops shaved thin?"
"On that home-baked bread?"
"And served up with kettle chips and a pickle on the side?"
"Yeah, she really made the best sandwiches," I hear them sighing with a smile, their eyes moistening at the memory.
And that 's what I was thinking would be a neat legacy. Patti and her super sandwiches. In fact, I'd kind of decided that's what I hoped my legacy would be.
Until a couple of occurrences few weeks ago, after which I was hit with the realization: Nobody's gonna remember those sandwiches!
To be continued...