Sunday, November 27, 2011


Wallace Stegner was a friend of my parents’, not a close friend but a neighbor and fellow traveler in progressive circles. So in the spirit of having something to talk with my parents about besides their health, or lack thereof, I’ve been reading Stegner’s novels about growing old in Los Altos Hills, where I grew up. My parents no longer live in the hills. They long ago moved to San Francisco. Still, there are passages that remind me of their current circumstances:

“I am just killing time till time gets around to killing me.”

“It is something—it can be everything—to have found a fellow bird with whom you can sit among the rafters while the drinking and boasting and reciting and fighting go on below; a fellow bird whom you can look after and find bugs and seeds for; one who will patch your bruises and straighten your ruffled feathers and mourn over your hurts when you accidentally fly into something you can’t handle.”

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