I think dad will be 93 this year. He once was a very good story-teller. He would sit out on the back porch looking over the San Fernando Valley and tell a story to whomever world sit next to him. Just make sure it was not past 5 pm …before the liquor hit his brain. This put him into a fighting mood and a meaner fucking son-of-a-bitch you will never find; it was always like this; between good and evil, and you had to be as sensitive as a cat; to stay and purr or take off and get away; to be domestic or wild.
To this day you can bet your cards on this about my dad. My siblings are in justification mode when it comes to his actions, or they rise above as if in some place of divine grace. I have always been straight with the man, as I told mom once,
“Mom if anything ever happens to you, I will not take care of that bastard.”
So be it this is how it is today. Don’t get me wrong I am kind to him now. He lives in an unimaginable place of dementia. I often lift my pint up to him and smile.
I realize he does not know if I am his wife, daughter, sister or some dame he has his eyes on? I really don’t care and just affirm again and again that,
“I am your daughter… Holly; the youngest of five children.”
He smiles and he is pleasant.
I hold firmly, in my mind and breast, that he needs to be accountable for the pain and suffering that he caused us. But, I also remember the times during the quiet, in the eye of the storm, when life seemed normal and even sweetly naïve, fun and magical.
This is a story I share with my sister. It recently came to my mind while reflecting on dad. Remember my relationship with him is always like clockwork based on the swing of the pendulum, and this story is when the pendulum was happy.
My mother was a stay-at-home-mom during the 50s and 60s while I was growing up. She did not drive so dad did the shopping for her. Their life was based a great deal on the conversation of “what’s for dinner honey?”
My folks always had lots of fruit around for the kids to eat. I never will forget one particular summer about the mystery of who was eating the strawberries.
In the evening mom would clean up the strawberries and get them ready for breakfast. I watched her rinse them and cut off the tops; putting the fresh, sweet, redness in a large bowl. The berries where then put into the refrigerator.
I said, “oh boy, strawberries for breakfast!”
“Yes, honey…we will wait until then.”
Morning came and there were no strawberries. I wondered about this. The whole family did. This went on for a couple of weeks, until someone did some investigational work.
It seems that my sister caught my dad in the act. He was getting up late at night and eating the strawberries. She then drew a picture of my dad with a strawberry nose. She showed it to me and instantly I knew who had been eating the strawberries. It was not a strawberry monster.
“Who’s been eating the strawberries?”
“Dad with the strawberry nose!”
We laughed together and I think mom put the picture up on the refrigerator for viewing as dad confessed.
Dad has a good size roman nose and at one time he had a dark mustache underneath. The drawing of dad induced an upside down strawberry, the uncut green top was his mustache.
Happy Birthday Dad!