Thursday, June 13, 2013
He ate the same breakfast every morning: two boiled eggs, two pieces of toast with marmalade and tea with four teaspoons full of sugar. When he got older, he added Bran Flakes to “keep things moving”. He packed his lunch each morning in a metal lunch pail and inside it were almost all of the same items he had for breakfast. The only change was the bread: it was not toasted. He ate his supper at the same time – 4:30 PM – and didn't care if anyone joined him. Prefered it, in fact. He also didn’t care what was on the menu provided that, whatever it was, was served with rice. This he made himself because nobody did it as well. This is the same reason he gave for ironing his own shirts. The dry cleaner botched the job. He used a hanky. He kept it in his left pants pocket and after blowing, meticulously folded the dry part over the wet before putting it back in his pocket. He snickered and shrugged his shoulder when we moaned that this was disgusting yet refused to surrender the practice. He played golf every day after work in the summer, turned on the television and watched sports when the snow started to fly. When spring came again, he started it all over again. He was a Habs fan. He thought the 1984 Lakers had the first best first line in the history of basketball. He thought Lee Trevino was under-rated and didn’t understand why Jack Nichlaus was “Golf’s Darling”. He screamed so loudly when he saw Joe Theisman’s leg break that the house shook and the neighbors rush over to make sure everything was all right. It took two days for him to stop shaking his head and saying, Now that is disgusting. He called women he liked, “Darling”, men he liked, “Boss”. He loved to tell us what a “handsome son-of-a-bitch” he was and the way he said it lets us know that he still thought he was. He read the Sunday New York Times every week even though the paper didn’t reach town until Tuesday. He clicked his tongue at the headlines when it arrived and referred to the people in it by their first names. Pierre and Margaret are breaking up, for instance. Or, Fidel is having another anti-American rally in Havana. His legs were muscular and attractive in shorts and I secretly hoped that mine were the same. He loved to tell anybody who would listen about the time he got into an elevator in Montreal with Liz Taylor, how her eyes were violet and she wore a pill box hat. She smiled hello and he was instantly struck mute. He could recite most of e.e. cummings by heart and did so when the spirit struck him. He cried when Cher won an Oscar. He's gone but he is everywhere. In my son's quiet gaze. In my daughter's laugh. In the smell of cut grass. In the sound a car makes on gravel. Everywhere. All the time. Here. Now. Always.