Someone asked if I understood what I wrote when I put this piece together and I laughed because I knew exactly what I said.
“Every last damn word.”
“So what am I to make of it?”
“Whatever you want to.”
“But I don’t understand it.”
“You weren’t supposed to. If I wanted you to know what I meant I would have made it clear.”
“That is not a good way to write. You want your readers to understand.”
“Maybe there aren’t readers. Maybe it is a reader and maybe they understand.”
“Is that what you are doing. Is there a single person?”
“The joy of art is coming up with your own answer based upon whatever bias you have. If you kiss the right person you will always know but it won’t matter if you kiss someone else the exact same way because the river is never the same.”
“I don’t like games. Give me a straight answer.”
“I’ll give you one from The Princess Bride.”
“Ok, what is it.”
“Get used to disappointment.”
Things You Learn When You Shave Your Head
Stood in the shower shaving my head thinking about a story Dad told me about shaving his.
I hadn’t ever shaved my head intentionally but the lock down made seeing my barber inconvenient and so I took to using Dad’s shaver to keep my hair looking like I just started boot camp.
It grows almost everywhere with the same vigor as it always has but with one exception.
The Front Top.
It just doesn’t want to fill in and I hate the way it looks if it gets too long so I keep it short.
One day about four or five weeks ago I decided to shave it all just to see what it looked like. Figured since I wasn’t seeing clients it was an easy time to test it out.
Decided I kind of like it, but not enough to do it daily so I let it grow out for a couple of weeks and do it again.
Discovered that after a week of hell it feels pretty damn good, almost like the shearing cuts away all of the crap I went through.
So after I put in my four miles today I decided I had to do it because this last week was one for the record books.
Thursday was tough, but Friday was almost as hard. Friday was a day in which force of will is all that took me from start to finish.
Think I might have a small cut on the back of my head and that made me laugh. Can’t tell you how many times I remember Dad saying he cut his head while shaving it.
Probably not that many, but enough to make an impression.
When Dad retired one of the guys at his party took me aside to tell me about how much he respected and liked him.
Told me a story about how the county had tried to fire him and Dad had saved his job.
“You know your father is fearless. He is not afraid of anyone or anything. I owe him so much, he saved my butt.”
I remember nodding my head and talking some more with hi. Remember a few other stories he told and things he said.
He told me the same at Dad’s funeral and said my eulogy reminded him of Dad speaking.
I wasn’t entirely surprised, we have some similar gestures and expressions though I tend to think our speech patterns and delivery has some distinct differences, unless we are angry.
Others might disagree, it is just my perspective and that is ok.
Twenty minutes before a big meeting on Thursday I took Dad’s hammer from the garage and walked into the house and stared at a wall I thought to use it on.
Ultimately chose not to because the picture I was going to hang turned out to have a crack in the frame.
So I sat in front of the computer holding the hammer in my hands, feeling the weight and remembering when it was too big for me to swing with one hand.
Watched an episode of Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee and smiled when I recognized them drive through LA to the Valley.
In the clip that promoted the episode I thought I recognized the restaurant they were in so that was really my primary impetus at watching it.
Anyhoo, the episode continued and before they got to the deli I knew it had to be Brent’s. Spent far too much time around that part of town not to recognize it and so I had to see what they ordered.’
Was mildly disappointed to see them not order one of my favorite sandwiches and then I got a flashback.
I remembered driving Dad back from chemo and thought about that day.
Remembered how tired he was and how he leaned upon me and let me half carry him into the car.
If there was a single moment that made me know how much of the candle he had burned that was it. I remember thinking I needed to focus on the time we had, especially knowing I would be heading back to Texas.
Dad was half asleep for most of the ride but he woke up when I parked the car and noticed we were at Brent’s.
I asked him if he wanted something to eat and he asked me to get him some chopped liver and said he would split it with mom.
That chopped liver stands out in memory because within minutes of eating it he responded like he was Popeye eating spinach.
Ok, not a 100 percent but he sat up straight, had a real conversation and stood up on his own.
Brent’s also happens to be the last restaurant I shared a meal with both of my parent as well as the very first restaurant my daughter ever went to.
The funny thing about it is until today I hadn’t really thought about any of it and then when I did it was striking.
My baby girl was born two days after Dad’s triple bypass. I am blanking on whether she was 3, 4 or 5 weeks old when she made her first visit to Brent’s.
But I do know that when I was out on my walk thinking about this she drove by me and it made me smile. She is like her grandfather and wants to be on the go always.
Kind of hard to do now, but there is nothing wrong with going for a drive around the hood just to get out a bit.
It doesn’t seem real to look at a burning Yahrzeit candle and realize it is for dad. I’d say I am not sure how that happened, except I know exactly how it did.
Sometimes the quiet is quite loud.