Sunday, June 21, 2009


Here's my dad and me. I was born in late September 1950. Someone who knows more about babies will have to guess which month this is, based on how old you think I am (I'm the one in white). It's probably northwestern Pennsylvania, so take that climate into consideration during your calculations.

Dad would have been just barely thirty in this picture, and I'm the third kid. Two more are on the way, but not for another five years.

Dad was my first parent to die. That was July 8, 1996. He was seventy-four. It took a while to learn to use the past tense when talking about him. Then it suddenly seemed that he'd been dead ten years. Or was it ten days?

The last Father's Day I attended, back in Western New York, he was all twitchy and unhappy about it because, as a Bible-beatin' Christian, he felt there was no real father except our Heavenly Father. Or something. I only remember that it was annoying, and hardly fair to the sister who'd spent so much money on a gift (as opposed to myself, who always felt that my mere presence on such an occasion was gift enough). I wonder if now he's hanging out, waiting for the next incarnation, feeling like an idiot about his attitude towards Father's Day. Or maybe he's laughing at the whole thing, especially since in his next life, he's going to be a woman. Well, who knows?

I also wonder how you're supposed to celebrate Father's Day if yours is dead and you aren't one yourself and the only other closer father is in Boulder, Colorado, alive and well at eighty-two, with his kids and grandkids. Mister Hallmark is probably wringing his hands, trying to come up with a place to send a Father's Day card when you have no father. It must just kill him to think that he's losing sales just because of lack of life. Maybe they can invent some place like Santa's North Pole, and have fatherless children -- even adult children -- send glossy cards up there. There must be a Tie, Nebraska, or Pipe, Omaha. Or, yes, Arm Chair, Ohio. Where, oh, where would we be without stereotypes?

I'm only mentioning Father's Day because I've spent too much time on MyFace and seen that others have posted pictures of their fathers. That made me dig around for a photo of mine. How's that for originality?

I really wanted to talk about expiration. I'm pretty sure I can force that to dovetail with Father's Day ... something like If your father has expired, you are exempt from acknowledging Father's Day.

It's just that I checked the date on the carton of eggs in my refrigerator. It was January 20. I'm happy to report that the year was 2009, so I've got that going for me. Still, the eggs looked okay. I mean, their shells were still there, and nothing rattled when I shook them. Years of bitter experience suggests that were I to crack one open, I'd find an egg with the viscosity of room-temperature butter.

Speaking of eggs, I'm reading The End of Overeating by David Kessler, M.D. Here's a point of amazement: I didn't even have to check the title or author. And a point of absurdity: I got dressed 'long about page fifteen and ran over to Walgreens for what surely will be my last bag of Lay's Classic Potato Chips. Really. I mean it. Anyway, there are birds who, given the choice, will sit on a big egg -- laid by a much bigger bird, an egg they couldn't possibly bring to maturation -- rather than on their own egg. Yes. In some birds, bigger is even better than species survival.

Supersize me!

But back to expirations ... I had my limit of four DVDs checked out of the Gulfport library. I've been very busy and scattered, so I was dismayed but not surprised when I realized that all four movies were overdue. The fine is two bucks per day per movie. Well, I love libraries, so I grumbled not at all as I plucked out a five and three ones and raced to the library. Raced? Yes. I had about seven minutes to keep the penalty at eight bucks. Yeah, yeah, I love libraries, but not sixteen dollars worth. I pressed against the automatic door with three minutes to spare. No other, um, client? consumer? citizen? was there, only employees wishing they'd locked the door a moment earlier. My movies were swiped and came up No fine due. Yay, but why not? Because there's a grace period of a day.

Ah, grace!

You'll remember Poor Sunny, Mike's seventeen-and-a-half-year-old cocker spaniel. Well, she's about to expire, or at least an expiration is about to be committed upon her. We thought it was going to take place while Mike was in Colorado, but the ex-girlfriend -- curse her insight! -- told him he'd regret not having been there at Sunny's Final Moment. So we're thinking Thursday, the day after he returns from the mountains. I'd be willing to bet my library fine that when Thursday comes, someone who shall remain nameless will decide that there's still some life in the ol' gal yet, and Sunny herself will experience yet another reprieve, another grace period. May it be short.

1 comment:

KT said...

I have never celebrated father's day, mine having died in September of 1951 when I was 4 months old. I was 1 of only 2 fatherless kids in my catholic grade school - the other due to (whisper) divorce. It's always been a weird day for me. My mother never spoke of him, "sparing my 2 sisters & I her sorrow", but also creating a ghost among us. That ghost visited me when I was 11, and I finally started processing my grief. I do think of him on father's day, as an absence, still with some longing.