Matt flipped a switch on the portable Flintstone’s record player–the three forty fives dropped down, and Lean on Me played again. He and his older brother Erick were teaching me, their eleven-year-old cousin, how to play poker, and Erick was dealing. So far they had won most of the money. I came with four quarters I had hoped to use for french fries at the pool.
Later they showed me how to smoke out of a pipe. They asked me questions like, “did I see a purple rabbit?” I told them, “My eyes feel funny. Could we go eat some of the donuts I saw in your kitchen?” Everything was funny. I laughed so hard my belly ached. The third chocolate covered donut was so good.
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.
Life can be challenging. My doctor told me I have something called GERD. I must stop drinking alcohol. Fried foods and chocolate are a no-no. These were my favorite things in the world next to marijuana. I told this to my girlfriend. I think she blocks out most of what I say–she suggested we go get a drink. I tell myself one bourbon won’t hurt. The fried cheese balls she orders are only inches from my reach. I eat a few. On the way home she breaks off a corner of a Hershey bar and says, “go ahead it’s only a little piece.” Later the burping brings acid from my stomach into my esophagus. The heartburn pain is unbearable. Tums don’t work at all. I have learned my lesson. No more alcohol, chocolate or Fried foods. Most important avoid my girlfriend whenever possible or suffer in pain and agony…
On Halloween we would pile into the back of a red Chevy truck and be driven around the neighborhood. Trick or treat, give us something good to eat. We knew which house gave candy bars and who gave apples. Often, we would throw the apples back at the house they came from. One year my mom wrapped my head with toilet paper and tape. I was proud to be the mummy until the rain turned my head into a soggy mess. At the end of the night I consumed mass amounts of chocolate. Snickers was always my favorite.
“Hi, Grandma, how are you?” I yelled, as I entered her house.
I knew she would be in the next room, playing solitaire at her card table.
She lived right next door, and, after I ate lunch at our house, I would walk to her house and eat again. I knew she would have Pop Tarts, ice cream and soda pop, all the good stuff we never had at home. I’d sit down next to her on her couch, which was always covered with a thick plastic cover. This cover came in handy the time I dropped a bowl of ice cream on it. When I made a mess she would yell “Ookie-pooks!” and have a fit until it was cleaned up.
Butchie, her dog, might waddle into the room.
Butchie got snacks all day and all night; his stomach buffed the floor.
“Hey Grandma, can I get something to eat?” I asked with a smile.
“Stevie, you’re getting so fat, but, I did get the chocolate-filled, chocolate-covered ones you like so much.”
She said mixed up things all the time. I didn’t care–I lived for those Pop Tarts. Then she’d hug Butchie, and say, “I love my little ootie-bootums, yes yes yes.”
Grandma was Jewish. I knew this because she ate bagels with cream cheese and some lousy crackers called Matzo. Sometimes a man with a very small hat would visit. Grandma would give him money and say that it was her Rabbi. She would say something funny and, when you looked at her, she would be making a silly face. I’ve never met anyone quite like Grandma, but, I do catch myself acting just like her sometimes.
Hey grandma I am going to eat some pop tarts. Grandma was at her card table playing solitaire. The Yankee game was on the radio, grandma was from Manhattan, New York. She is Jewish and knows what I like to eat everyday when I come over from our house. Her furniture is covered with thick clear plastic covers. Do you want me to give Butchie a cold hot dog? I gave him one . I think Grandma is sleeping. . Butchie’s belly drags on the ground from all he gets fed. Butchie and I are really getting fat , and we both like cold hot dogs. Butchie and I are really enjoying ourselves as Grandma is snoring. I would go sit with Grandma but sitting on that plastic makes my butt get hot. Bye Grandma.
If my ninety-three-year-old father who I live with were to finally give up and go to heaven, it would be awful. If Fats, my pot source was to get busted, I will give up and go to heaven.
I like angels, people sitting around on clouds talking, and everything is just really nice.
I forgot to mention, I like wings.