My Dad was a truck driving, irascible imp of a man. Short in stature, but huge in heart. He used to love to tease my mother; an Edith to my father’s Archie. When one of her sisters came to visit he would hide in his room, telling Mom to let him know when her crazy sisters were gone. She’d get so mad she would throw things. Once I watched her destroy a whole set of patterned China Dad had brought from out west. He walked in from the Florida room and started laughing. So she broke another set!
But he was always good to us kids. My sisters and I were always clothed, fed and kept from major harm. I loved those years growing up, when he’d take a job in town. Maybe driving a Taxi, or delivering propane. We’d spend Sundays at miniature golf parks, or maybe the Parrot Jungle. Lots of things to see and do around Miami. Then we’d finish off the day with Chinese take-out at a drive-in movie.
Pop had an old Chevy, maybe a ‘54 or ’55. I was small enough to fit on the back under the rear window. It was like lying on a bench. I would lay there with my head on a pillow; eat egg rolls dipped in duck sauce. Mom made me sit up for the Chow Mien.
After growing up, I moved north. I like to think of it as expanding the dynasty or something. My sisters stayed in Florida near the Parents. It was good having a base camp. And let’s not forget Disney!
Time passed as time does, imperceptibly crawling away while we’re looking elsewhere. Here today, gone today...
It was my Parents 50th Anniversary. My sisters put together a party in the penthouse of a convention center. A wonderful night of golden memories and familiar faces from the old neighborhood. I was having a great time with my video camera, hopping around from table to table, doing drunken interviews; me, not the participants.
I was coming up on my father’s table, heard him talking to his cousin.
“Erving, I hear them calling me.”
“Who, Jakey, who is calling you?”
“The angles, I hear them calling me home.”
I pretended not to hear.
My mother is worrying about the vases, she wants to take the vases but my dad is starting to have a fatal heart attack. But she can’t forget the vases and he’s getting more and more pissed by the minute. His back is starting to hurt and he’s screaming at her now.
“Dotty! I need to go home, I have to get my pills.”
“Jakey, just one more minute, there’s still three left sitting on tables in there!”
“Dotty! DAMN IT!”
And he clutched at his chest and he’s grabbing at his shoulders and the look the look in his eyes is so full of questions the he just can’t . . .
And my father was laying on the floor in front of me oh dear God please help me my father is lying here in front of me dying and I don’t know what to do and his eyes are glazing over like a dead fish like something I’ll see for the rest of my own life and I can smell his bowel release as the life has gone from my Pop my Dad my father.
© steven pavelsky, 2019. All rights reserved.