Monday, June 16, 2008

Father’s Day

I have been working on a solution to see my Dad and get back home for company on Fathers day. I hatch a plan. A conversation with Dad is not always easy. Just arranging for a breakfast out can be an exercise. I plan my strategy. “Are you going to church on Saturday evening or Sunday morning?” I ask. The direct question is always the best approach. “Well, Saturday.” He replies. This is good, now he has no excuse for a Sunday breakfast. “I want to take you to breakfast for Father’s Day.” I tell him. “Well,” he says “I eat early.” “How early is early.” I ask. “7:30 or 8:00” he replies. This is going good. I’m getting responses. “I’ll pick you up at 7:30.” I tell him. “Really?” he says. “OK then, 7:30.”

I get up early and head out-of-town to see my Dad. Dad is looking pretty good for a man of 80. He climbs into our van without much effort and orders a good breakfast at Blake’s. He tells me he’s had another visit to the “death house”. That’s what he calls his oncologist. The oncologist says he going to live a long time. Dad wants me to make a note of the oncologist’s name in case he drops tomorrow. Dad has raised his hand for a new drug trial he tells me. He’s feeling pretty good about it. It looks as though he intends to stick around for a while. “Good” I tell him. I like having him around.

On his birthday recently, we had a nice big bash. I had him stand near this one and that while I took their photograph. As I look at the photos, I realize there is not one photo of me standing near my Dad. I take care of the little oversight this morning. Dad is pleased with the photo as his mouth isn’t open. Dad always has a wisecrack. That’s why his mouth is open in so many pictures. I’m not sure he’s aware of this, but I find it endearing that he is clueless.

Andy and I head back home and we are greeted at the door by my grandson and his mother, who have arrived ahead of us. Soon, Aiden is leading Andy down the hall. We keep a selection of toys there for him. His favorites are an electric keyboard that makes sounds like your local DJ, and a big blue ball. He stops only briefly at the toys. He then proceeds into the bathroom. “Hey”, Andy calls to our daughter, “Aiden is pulling on his pants and saying ‘poop’.” “Then help him with his pants.” our daughter calls back. They are both out of our line of vision. “I don’t know how these contraptions work!” Andy calls back. “Just pull the tabs” daughter calls back. There are a few moments of silence, and then Andy exclaims “Hey! He’s doing what he said!” He’s so impressed, that he marks the occasion on the back of a new photo he’s just received for Father’s Day. I wonder how much Aiden will appreciate that in another few years.

“Put his shoes on” Andy tells our daughter. “It’s time for the guys to go outside.” Aiden, with shoes on, holds Papo’s hand and heads outside. My daughter and I spend some time chatting. We realize after a bit that it has been a while and also way too quiet. We peer out the window and what we see has us chuckle. Andy and Aiden are both seated in lawn chairs around a flaming BBQ. Andy loves to sit there, watch the fire, keep the bugs away and have a beer. He and Aiden appear as though they do this every day. “Hot!” Aiden says. “That’s right” says Papo. Just two buds enjoying the day and each other’s company. I get the camera and record this moment too.

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