They put my father on the phone.
"Are you sorry now?" I asked him. He chuckled and then went into detail about their day, including seeing a bunch of street performers who kept promising to perform their ultimate amazing trick, but only if the crowd coughed up some money. Dad and I laughed at how similar it was to the performers in Nice when we were there.
Then he started telling me that he'd just finished reading Younger Next Year, a book about how there are certain aspects of aging that are inevitable and others that are reversible.
He told me about a study about artereosclerosis done on rabbits. The rabbits were stacked in cages, and even after the rabbits were dosed with a drug supposed to cause artereosclerosis, only the rabbits in the top cages succumbed. They moved the cages around and repeated the study and again, only the rabbits in the top cages succumbed. It turned out that the lab technician who cared for the rabbits was a petite woman who had the habit of talking to and petting the rabbits as she cared for them. Because she was short, she could only reach the bottom cages. They concluded that it was the contact, the stroking and petting that helped prevent the hardening of the arteries.
Dad said that he'd been making a special effort to hug and caress the girls (who love it because they get so much of it at home) and to do the same for his wife, my stepmother. He said that he'd tried it with a few women in the street, but even after explaining the artereosclerosis angle neither they nor my stepmother was buying it.
You know, I don't think that my dad is aging badly at all...