I guess as many as it takes to get started. Probably unrealistic to plan a new program when going to Mom's for dinner and birthday party. Then the prison visit the next day in vending machine world. I did not do so hot but I am not giving up. What I am really facing right now are realities that make me feel sad.
My Dad was very quiet this visit and he went back in his room a lot. He barely said but one or two words at a time. He lays in bed a lot and stares at the ceiling. I want to tell you what my Dad used to be like. When I was growing up every night my Dad got home at exactly 5:30. He watched the news and went on about politics. He was very avid about social justice, civil rights and such. He would also strum his guitar in the evening and listen to music. It was the background music of my childhood. He was dedicated to his family. He did not do anything else that I am aware of. He did things with us. He worked a job he did not like all that much so he could provide for us.
Education was important to him. And he wanted us all to go to college. He dreamed up a family business raising and selling produce to raise college money. In fact, my oldest brother put himself through college that way. Working the farm every Summer. I worked in the produce stand and in the fields, myself. I am so happy to have had such an experience. In fact that's how I learned to like vegetables. Sitting in the stand on a hot Summer day smelling them.
He read books, so many books. Every night he would go to bed and read before he went to sleep. He also wrote books and sent them to publishers but never got any of them published. He did however realize his dream of publication when he moved to the country and got his own column in the nearby city newspaper. That went fine until he wrote a "liberal" opinion and then he got sacked. His column was called Chet Gilbert's Things To Think About. It had his photo next to it as well. We have copies of the articles. My Mom told me this weekend that Dad always said that if any one of us kids would be a writer it would be me.
I don't know exactly when he completely slipped away but I really miss my Dad.