The Pennsylvania Polka

So. We made the decision to visit my parents.

This was not an easy decision. My father is immunocompromised. My family would be from four separate states.

But we thought it best to visit now before the bad days become worse. That’s not to say his passing is more imminent than it is for any of us. We don’t know what the future holds. But we do know, medically speaking, that the prognosis is not good. That’s the reality of things.

“Go for a walk,” they said. “It’ll be fun,” they said. And they were right.

And so we went. We rented a large Air B&B in which the out of town family could stay while giving appropriate space. We visited wearing masks and distancing as much as possible.

We talked and shared stories and got caught up with each other.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

We took what is likely to be the last family photo.

I wish that circumstances were different, that it’d have been possible to visit more friends. But it was not to be.

One day, a few of us went for a drive in the country and found the rural cemetery where my grandfather and his first wife and my grandmother are buried.

I like cemeteries and graveyards. And as I looked around my oldest brother said

So did you get the family eyes too?

“Yeah,” I replied.

Here, take these.

I reached out for a pair of sunglasses and put them on.

and the world changed

I’d forgotten he had enchroma glasses until that moment.

I can’t really describe what it’s like to see the world in dull shades, a mixing and blurring of greens and reds and blues and yellows and purples and browns so that one thing looks like another and it’s never what anyone else sees.

And then, distinction. I am under no illusions. There is currently no cure for colorblindness, and such glasses are aids, they don’t give “true sight” or anything like that.

But to see the world differently. I was amazed. I’m told I stood there for several long moments with my mouth hanging open before uttering a single word:


I still tear up thinking about those moments. One day I’ll get my own pair and my brother and I will look at waterfalls and rainbows and cry at their beauty, dumbfounded at the everyday wonder often ignored by everyone else.

A bittersweet week, but more sweet than bitter.

A treasure, to be sure.

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