Paint Geeks Hit the Highway!

Updated: Jun 5


Every family who has ever taken a road trip knows the value of a good distraction!

We have all been there: the license plate game where you note each time you see a license plate from a new state, until you see all 50!

Buck’s favorite was always “I Spy!”

But what about my paint geeks?

In our cars, we like to count paint trucks! When I say “we” I mean me (and the other voices in my head). I usually play this game alone; embarrassed to share even with Buck that I pay attention to such paint-minutia.

It’s not really a competition, more just something to do as the miles roll by. It’s usually just a two-company game though occasionally I get a regional brand in the mix.

While the stretch of highway between Connecticut and Florida may not qualify as the whole earth, nonetheless Sherwin Williams had it covered this trip, beating Benjamin Moore 6-1.


All that time in Georgia and Florida and not one truck from Richard’s?

They must use common carriers!

I’m not in Florida for reasons of paint, though the paint is always everywhere for me.


My father‘s connection to the earthly paint-world is in grave danger. His heart lays still at the moment. Resting, while a room of machines and nurses does his heart’s work. The plan is to rest his heart-it’s a muscle like any other-and see if in resting it can find some strength.

Later today we will learn if that rest was enough for it to recover and beat on its own.


This of course is not in our hands. My sister Marci, my mother Bobbie, Guy, Buck, my niece and nephew, my cousins and a lifetime of friends are all doing their best to will his heart to beat. I look at the flat lines on the screen and want to stand under them, and lift them myself.

My father told me years ago that “there are no atheists in a foxhole.” I want to tell him that I finally understand.


But I can’t! He is being kept under general anesthesia until this is all over.


I know that many of you come here for the talk of paint. There is plenty of it around me now. Stories of my father, which we are all telling plenty of now, are so often connected to paint and our time with him in his store. So many of us who love him grew up in that store.


Once right at closing time, we had a 200+ gallon spill. A shit-ton of poorly stocked plastic deuces of a private label product we used to sell called Revere, fell over and opened up.


Everywhere!


My father and I, the last two in the store that day, walked into the back to investigate the crash we heard. When we saw what happened, my father looked at me and said “I’ll lock the door so you don’t have to deal with any customers while you clean this up!”


Good talk!


Anyone who knows my father well has heard him say “I can’t wait till tomorrow because I get better looking every day!” Incredibly he did! But now, with a tomorrow so uncertain I find myself able to wait for it. Or even wanting to delay its arrival.


I know many of you come here for the paint. Paint geeks are always welcome here! But I know that many of you also come to read my diary; my life with Guy and Buck and the journey we are all sharing.


Even with such pain and fear around us, we are still managing to find a lot to laugh about. We are the family of Billy Lipton. We are laughers.


Yesterday my sister gave my mother two Xanax-understandable under the circumstances. Only mom doesn’t take Xanax, it was supposed to be her blood pressure medication. Within 15 minutes mom’s words were slurring and within 30 she was doing a stand-up routine which I’m sure she’ll want to forget when she gets up this morning.


Which is why I took a video!


While there has been some hilarity, there have also been a lot of tears. My parents share a remarkable bond which I’ve been lucky enough to experience from the first row. Have you ever seen the movie “THE Notebook?” Imagine if that movie were 60 years long!


That has been my life’s view.


Today at around 1:30, they will take my father off his support and close his chest. Just my father and the hands of one remarkable surgeon will determine where the story goes from here.


My family has a wedding planned later this year. My nephew Andrew is marrying a girl he doesn’t deserve. My father became ordained so that he could perform the service. “Man plans” my mother often says “while God laughs!” We are about to learn if mom is right.


I want to thank you all for walking this road with me. Thank you for your prayers and energy. Life is a journey and the road is not always flat nor straight. Sometimes, it’s not even paved! Through this, Guy has been reminding me to take care of myself: get fresh air is her steady refrain.


Has she ever been to Florida?


Besides I don’t need fresh air. Writing for you clears my head and lungs and I’m so very grateful for you being here with me. I know that I am not the only one of us who has dealt with struggles in their lives. Some of you are dealing with them right now!


Writing these words to you helps me so much more than I could ever express. Thank you for reading them. My hope is that they help you too! Whether they help you feel less alone while carrying a burden or they help you realize how fortunate you are to have good health for all your loved ones-I hope they help you.


Mark


PS Dad and his grandson Andrew. If you asked dad about this pic he'd say, "I'm the good looking one!"


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