Heaven

I got to thinking the other day, “what will Heaven look like, and what is there to look forward to?” That’s a slice of the Blue Ridge Mountains above – supposedly “almost Heaven.” I could live with that. There must be a golf course or two nearby.

I’m not in a hurry to get to Heaven, and I cannot decide if I want to get there gradually or quickly. When the time comes, and it IS coming, and given the choice, maybe quicker is better, as in just having played 18 holes of golf, shooting my age, followed by a two hour de-brief, then ramming my convertible into a telephone pole. Done.

I am assuming I will end up in Heaven, based on the slimmest of qualifications. But I have several questions. It would be nice if one could end up in Heaven at one’s preferred age. Fortunately I have kept all of my old passports and as I rifled through them, I decided that I would like to be in Heaven as a 45 year old. Good photo. I was fit back then, financially in decent shape, enjoyed my work. And I thought, wouldn’t it be great if my parents were there, close by, at roughly the same age. When my mother was 45, I was 17. Now with me being her contemporary, things would be different. I wouldn’t be hearing, day after day, “what are you going to do with your life?” Too late.

And what about accommodations? I expect I will arrive in Heaven as a single, and I would like a very nice condo, two beds, two baths, den, open plan living area, and facing the golf course, something like the one below.

Okay. So I have this nice place. Who do I want to have over? Certainly there are some old friends that I have lost over the years, and hopefully they have chosen to arrive in Heaven and have taken on an age similar to mine, 40-45, which would make things work. And then I am thinking; Donna won’t arrive here for another decade or two (longevity in her family), what about former girlfriends? Katherine Low and I were an item when we were 20. Back then I called her “Millie.” To my knowledge, she never married, and I understand she is up here somewhere, so why couldn’t we get together? Strictly platonic, of course. I could go on Google.hvn and get Millie’s number.

I haven’t seen Millie since we dated, and I never saved a photo (how would I explain that?), but she looked something like this:

But apart from old “friends” would it not be possible to connect with a few others up here. Maybe do a dinner party. Winston Churchill is here; probably having chose 65 as his “Heaven age.” (He became Prime Minister at age 65). Get his number through Google.hvn; call and ask him to come over casual; say that I will have lots of champagne and brandy, and tell him that he can smoke cigars at the table. You can’t kill anyone with second-hand smoke in Heaven.

You will have noted that I have room for 8 at my dining table, plus I can put a few more at the counter. Arnold Palmer? Absolutely. It would be good to have him one-on-one rather than sharing him with thousands as it was on Earth. I would have a couple of questions for Arnie.

For example, “did he really like Jack?” And, “were you OK leaving your widow all that money?” In advance, I think I know the answers to both.

Who else? Certainly my Dad. What a treat it would be to sit down with your father at age 45. My Dad never opened up about his service in the War. Gone for 5 years and never had a second thought that it wasn’t the right thing to do. Maybe in Heaven we could have that conversation.

I still have some seats to fill. Cary Grant? Absolutely. Cary was 51 when he made the movie, “To Catch a Thief,” directed by Alfred Hitchcock. So Cary might be a bit past the 40-45 guideline, but please! He looked great at any age. Here he is with Grace Kelly.

I have questions for Cary that I would bring up at dinner. For example, who was his favourite co-star? Grace Kelly? Kathryn Hepburn? Joan Fontaine? Eva Marie Saint? No reason to hold back now, as the press is nowhere in sight. If I were Cary, I would vote for Grace. She was a Princess after all.

I still have several seats to fill. Not to dwell on actors, but I have to include Ingrid Bergman. “Casablanca” is my favourite movie of all time, and I know that Ingrid is up here somewhere. A simple phone call (I would tell her that Cary is coming, of course) and could she join us for dinner? Yes. Lots of questions for her as well. Favourite co-star? Was Bogie really that short? Would she be embarrassed if I told her that she was the most stunning actress ever on screen (in “Casablanca”)?

Anyway, I will fill out the dinner table in a few moments, but there are some logistical things to get out of the way. For example, there is transportation. How do you get Winston Churchill to your place for dinner? In Heaven, you simply wish for it (but you need to send a formal invitation, of course) and he would arrive at the appointed time. Should he bring Clemmie? You bet.

Food and drink? In Heaven the fridge is always full of the things you need. Just like on Earth. It just happens. No need to go to the market. Wines and spirits? I would not push the Heaven thing too much and insist on the finest of wines and whisky. I would be OK with Aussie wines, and a nice California cab, and Glenmorangie – even though Churchill might not be too pleased.

So, back to dinner. Leonardo da Vinci? Good God yes. Steve Jobs? For sure. I am beginning to wonder what I am doing at the same table. I just want to sit there and listen to the conversations. If the discussions get heavy I can chat with my Dad, as he always had a pretty straightforward view of life. That’s him above, circa 1940. In today’s vernacular, he would have been a dude (and certainly a Skuxx).

What about media in Heaven? One of the saving graces. No need for Facebook or Twitter. The people you need to connect with can be reached with a simple phone call. Cary, can you come for dinner? “What day, what time?” “Shall I bring Grace?” “Prince Rainier?” “No, just Grace will be fine.”

The news? No more newspapers. TV? Sure. But just classic flicks. And Netflix and Super Bowl reruns featuring the Patriots. No more Fox news. Sean Hannity and Donald Trump will be headed to the southern alternative when the time comes anyway. That is a fact.

My Heaven seems to be a nice landing place and I start to wonder; what about those who were less advantaged on Earth? What is their notion of Heaven? As on Earth, and as it continues unfairly, their expectations may fall far short of my own. “As on Earth, as it is in Heaven.” Sadly, for many.

But, I do have to remind myself, this is about me and what I have to look forward to. The dinner table? Add John Wolfe. Our next-door neighbour in Connecticut. John passed on in 2009 at age 90. We met when John was 68 and I was but 40. Among his many words of wisdom? “Son, only serve Bombay Gin, Sapphire, with a thimble full of vermouth and a spray of single malt Scotch, and you will have the makings of the perfect martini.”

Heaven …