Eating With My Father

I made dinner on Sunday night (which isn't all that remarkable, really).

But that's not where the story starts. It started at Christmas, when I realized that the day passed without me thinking much of it, without it really registering. And it's been running through my head ever since.

My Father's birthday. I used to mark the day. For a long time, I would go to a friend's grave, and leave some flowers. There really is nowhere to mark dad, I don't know what arrangements my step-mother made. But, I would mark the day, if only to make a point to listen to our song. And to be honest, I didn't really have to make a point to listen to it. It seems that I hear it, without trying to make it happen. On my birthday, on my wedding day, the day that Gabriel was born, and always on my father's birthday. On every day when I wish he was here. Especially on the day when our furnace died, and I would have given anything to be able to phone him and tell him to come and fix it. I will turn on the radio, flip on my ipod, walk into a store, and there I will hear it.

Fishing in the Dark. My mother swore she was going to first break the record, and then when the record wore out, or we finally upgraded to a cassette player, I can't remember which, she was right there threatening to pull out the magnetic tape. My young voice, his old, singing away. I don't think I really knew what the song was about, but I sure did like it.

I've stopped typing to queue up the song in iTunes. I can hear the start. And I go back. I can see myself in the passenger seat of his truck, I can see both of us singing our hearts out. I can see. I can go back.

On Sunday I cooked 'our' meal. Well, almost. The creamed corn was great, but I burnt the fried potatoes, and we didn't cook the pork chops in mushroom soup. But our meal. When my mother was gone. It was what he cooked. All the time. I suspect, I suspect if I could ask him, well, probably he would tell me it was the only thing he could cook.

He has been gone 10 years in May. And really, many more than that. He has been gone, probably more than half my life. A few visits in between, but gone. I got a dollar from his estate. I remember, because I remember the letter. Registered mail. It seemed so silly that they would spend $20 to register $1. And then I had to cash it. I remember my mother's white hot anger, she wanted more. She wanted me to have more. Mostly I think she just wanted more.

And what did I want of his money? What did I want of dollars? I had enough. Fishing in the dark, park hunting, 2 bits for a Popsicle, riding the LRT, fridge soup, pork chops, creamed corn, and fried potatoes.

When I think about it, I'm pretty sure he burnt them too.