One of my sisters used to date a guy who came from a suburb in Cleveland that was known for having pink flamingos or something like that.
I think it was one of those Heights or Pepper Pike places but hell if I can remember for certain as he hasn’t been seen in a dozen years so it doesn’t matter which city or where.
Got a friend who I met in Israel in ’85 who moved from her hometown of Johnson, Tennesee to four years in Bloomington, followed by time in LA and now lives in Cleveland.
Don’t ask me to try to explain how my mind works or why some memories have chosen to flood my consciousness other than I woke up and wondered if it was dad or someone else who once wished us all a good mourning.
Not That Kind Of Scoundrel
I am a scoundrel but not the kind referenced in the quote. I am the guy who has spent countless hours thinking about what stories I should write, if there are poems to include and whether I’ll share any of my secrets for wooing women.
Perhaps I’ll offer a book on the latter that will be superior to any RONCO product you have ever purchased and is far sharper than a Ginsu knife.
All you’ll have to do is make three easy payments of $19.99 plus shipping and handling and you too will know my guaranteed secret.
In the interim I won’t tell you that she kissed me first even though she did or that the rumor about me being somewhat mad is somewhat true.
I am not sure why the memories of the days just before and just after my father’s departure are creeping to the surface but I have my suspicions.
Part of me wonders if it is because I left LA to return to Texas the day after the funeral and that I didn’t internalize things.
It sounds kind of ridiculous to me because I saw dad’s body afterwards.
Hell, I woke up about a minute before my sister called me to say it was over and if you want to know why I am sure dad woke me.
I could swear I felt his hand on my shoulder and that an instant later my cell rang, middle sister on the phone letting me know it was done.
Walked to the bedroom, woke mom and waited for her to get dressed so we could go to the hospice.
Dad wasn’t the first Wilner male I sat with afterwards as I was the guy who sat with my grandfather’s body after the doc called it.
The point being that somehow I ended up being with my paternal grandfather and my father’s bodies post mortem.
I knew exactly what was going on. I had spoken with dad about what this moment might be like but I sit here a year later and wonder if maybe it just didn’t sink in.
Wondering if I didn’t really mourn hard until I knew I would be going back to another family event without him.
Will I keep waiting for him to walk in from the store or to say he went for a ride?
A Very Scary Man
My niece the November child is turning 18 this year which means in a handful of months 50 percent of mom and dad’s grandchildren will be 18 or older and eligible to vote in the next presidential election.
One of the instructions dad gave me was to keep an extra eye on all of his grandchildren and to make sure his granddaughters knew I was available if necessary to be a very scary man.
I told dad I could be a very silly man and he told me to remember there is a time and place for that kind of stuff.
“Who knew my old man would be on his virtual deathbed quoting Kenny Rogers.”
Dad glared at me and I shrugged my shoulders, “I love you dad, but I am not changing for you or anyone else. When I get married for the 32nd time I’ll tell him or her the same thing, but only after we have exchanged rings.
I might not run as fast then so I got to make sure it is a done deal first.”
He didn’t comment and I knew that his arch enemy Mr. Cancer was wearing him down. He was tired.
When people ask what it was like to know there was a deadline I shrug my shoulders.
“No one gave me a precise date, they just said he was closer to the end than the beginning. I made a point to do all I could to soak up the time we had together because it is/was important.
But I come with several levels of intensity and this is the kind of thing that put me on high so it was important to find ways to break through the craziness that came with it.
Dad understood that.
There are a couple of things going on that make his absence extra noticeable. Things that we had discussed because his counsel was smart, effective and useful.
And let’s be honest, most of us never tire of having our parents support. You might not need it and you might not want it.
But once it is gone you absolutely notice its absence and think it would be ok to hear those comments once or twice again.
I have several of dad’s voicemails saved on my phone and every so often I’ll play one or more of them.
I told him I was going to do save them and told him I was thinking about asking him to say a word or two so I would have it.
He told me not to worry because I knew what he would say about most things. He was right, I do feel confident I know but again, it wouldn’t bother me to hear him say it instead of just picturing it.
He’ll never leave us and I know my family has noticed my using similar expressions and or gestures as he did.
The world is a different place than it once was and I am ok with that. Got no other options or choices to make, can’t yell or scream and change reality.
Can only move forward.