Some are physical, and some are emotional. Two days ago, my neighbor ~70 years old had a stroke and was rushed to a stroke/coronary center in Bangor. Hopefully, they can do something to relieve the pressure on his brain, and he doesn't lose much functionality. My wife's favorite aunt (~93) is in that same hospital and is not expected to last for more than the next day or so. At least she didn't fall victim to senile dementia like her sister (my mother-in-law), and had a sharp mind and a good memory every time I talked to her. A good long life and a merciful (not drawn-out, painful) death are something we can all aspire to. Until a year or two ago, I'd breeze right past the obituaries in the morning paper. Now, though, it seems that a couple of times a week people that I know have died, including the parents of friends, and even former class-mates. I'm a couple weeks away from hitting 60, so it's not that surprising that people in their 80s are kicking off, but still jarring to see an obit about somebody that you grew up knowing. A guy that died recently has a big soft spot in my heart. He was fishing the tailwaters of the local hydro-dam and hooked into a huge salmon, and he told me to grab his landing net and land that monster. My father was horrified - even moreso when I made the rookie mistake of grabbing the line when that big fish didn't want to get into the net! It all turned out OK, and that football-shaped land-locked salmon ended up mounted and displayed on the wall of the local variety store that sold fishing licenses in the next town. My father was giving me hell, and Junior patted me on the back and told me that I "did good".