My father’s assisted living home smells like poop. My father has been fading for five years. He now says very little. He will have a chocolate, a piece of fruit, a stiff Vodka Tonic. After his first sip he will say “this tastes good.” I have to keep the conversation going, and I talk about my girlfriend or my health issues. He does laugh and make expressions. He thinks I am a little nutty, like my mother and her Mother. He enjoys my visits.
We have been painting, moving furniture, and going to coffee cafes where my old friend–now roommate likes to sip frozen coffee and work on her cross stich. She is particular about how to paint and her taste is different from mine. She has tons of little knick-knacky stuff which must have come from yard sales. She loves yard sales. She is here to help me, so I just sort of shake my head and swallow my tongue. She is a breath of fresh air, and my dog Louie is happy to have some good company as well.
My mother was a great woman. A graduate, with Honors, from Hood College. A self taught expert on the history of Frederick County .A leader in the community with regards to historic preservation. And yet she could never learned to ride a bicycle. she was uncoordinated , a horrible athlete.She couldn’t even play badmitton.
She never really learned to drive correctly. A head on collision on hollow road, she knocked a post over at the post office. She drove our VW beetle through the back wall of our barn.
Mom cooked for a hungry family of seven. I can still picture her sleepy headed fixing our bag lunches. Then find out later she forgot to put bologna on my bologna sandwich.
She considered herself a creative artists and after spending hours on another watercolor she might say, “Stevie how do you like this? Often I would get a puzzled look on my face and reply, “What is it”?
Sometimes it was hard to visit my mom. She might quickly take my hand, and then I would realize she had mashed potatoes, and gravy in her hand. Even near the end it was worth it to go see mom, for suddenly she might look at you, and give you a big smile.I will always miss that.
My father has gone into an assisted living home. I have to move out of the house I was born in–
A middle-aged man being thrust back into the world.
I am thinking, what is important to me? It is important that I do what’s right for my father. It is important that I continue to get high on high-grade marijuana. It is important that my dog is spoiled in a manner that he is used to since I took over his supervision. Entering a new phase of my life, I will remember these words: The only thing to fear is fear itself.
My next residence will be in the house next door. Good luck on your journey, Stephen, and Bon Voyage.
I’m lying on my bed again, looking into my laptop, my dog is lying behind me with his rear end pressed into my side. We both do our best thinking in a totally relaxed position. I am stoned, and Louie probably is too from second hand smoke. If I don’t write anything eventually I’ll get up and get something to eat. I might eat some peanut butter on a banana, Louie might get a wow-wow chewy snack or maybe a piece of cake. I have been doing this most evenings since November. I’m worried that I may not make it through to spring without blowing a gasket, or losing my marbles.
Every cloud has a silver lining.
My father’s driving skills have been declining. I took a ride with him–he didn’t use his blinkers.
He pulled in front of a big truck, which came within four inches of hitting us.
I said, “Dad, what the hell was that?”
He said, “He would’ve hit on your side.”
I knew he disliked me, but I had no idea how bad his driving was. At ninety-three I think he’s forgotten what a stop sign is. If we had one more near accident, I was going to shit my pants.
His driving was horrible, and he was trying to kill me. Then, two weeks later, he decided to completely stop driving. Another loss, another sad end.
Silver Lining: he asked if I wanted his 2009 Honda Accord with only 21,000 miles.
It is jet black. A chick magnet.
I have nobody to trust. I can’t even trust myself. I have let myself down many times. I can be brutally honest, but when the truth is to hard to take I go into a state of denial. I know I have lied before, even when it wasn’t needed. We are all human.We all have good qualities, even I deserve to be happy. We are all unique, life is good.