My Poppy

It’s Veteran’s Day. It’s also my dad’s birthday. He’s not been with us to celebrate for seven years now. It’s not a birthday you easily forget.

My dad had a myriad of health problems throughout his life. One, in particular, was his eyesight in his later years.

At this time, he was around 80 years old and had to have medical and eye tests done to keep driving.

At his eye appointment, the doctor said there was a strange dark mass behind his eye and he recommended my father to a specialist.

Even hearing this news caused me a great deal of worry. It’s not something anyone needs to hear, let alone live with.

I remember when the date of the specialist’s appointment arrived. I was worried sick all day. I had to wait several hours before calling him due to the time change.

When I finally called, my dad, in a very grave voice said, ‘I have some really bad news’. Seriously? My blood froze and I stopped breathing. For those few seconds, I imagined all of ‘worst case scenarios’ coming true.

What is it, Dad? I was almost too frightened to hear the answer.

‘He took my driver’s license away’

It took me a second or two, then I  laughed a bit out of sheer relief.

‘He’s a bastard’! he screamed down the phone.

It’s all about perspective. Cancer might have been bad news but losing the license was a loss of his freedom and independence. He lived in an apartment building with other seniors and he was reigning ‘cool guy with a car’.

I suggested perhaps if he was to have eye treatments that driving wasn’t likely the best idea but he wasn’t hearing any of it.

He ended up having laser treatments and did get his license back for a few more years. I often think about that, the ways we reacted to the same situation.

In the words of Louie Prima, ‘Enjoy yourself, enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think.

 

My parents on their way to a movie date.  Enjoying themselves.

 

Mom and Dad

 

 

Kathy’s Desk

Going back about 500 years when I lived in Calgary, I was at my friend Brad’s place, (you’ve met her, she comes for hols) we were just hanging out and having tea and a chat. He was talking about a social gathering he had been at recently and he mentioned that someone we both knew had been there with his new boyfriend. I asked what the new boyfriend was like and Brad replied, “Maybe  a bit of S and P to taste, she’s a bit bland.”  We had a good chuckle over this and carried on chatting but what happened was, that phrase got planted in my brain.

It comes to me , mostly without realizing it. When I myself use the S n P, to taste, I hear him saying it. When someone is boring the tits right off me, same.

So, going back another 500 years past that day, back to when I was in Grade One, yes, I remember, my friend Kathy, (her real name) sat across the aisle and one up from me, she was a front row kid. The worst. Brats. Ever. I could see in to her desk, and although neat, it was full of paper. I clearly remember one day her sliding her books in to the desk, old fashion type, and even though the books slid in easily, they were on top of a ton of paper.

So the bottom layer of her desk was all these papers she had never gotten rid of; Very Important Papers, like coloured ducks and some nonsense about Dick and Jane and their dog Spot. It had been in this state for some time, and for some reason it was really cool to me. This layer of trash with plenty of room for the other stuff on top, stuff like books about Dick and Jane and their dog Spot and sandwiches in paper bags.

Mrs. Rogers, our teacher, called her on it one day. Mrs. Rogers, if you will, picture Godzilla with a tartan dress and maybe some glass pearls. Horrid Hound From Hell! She made me go to the from of the class once to throw away my gum and then SPANKED ME in front of everyone, but I’m not ready to talk about that yet. So she made Kathy take down her mountain of papers, important or not and toss them.

Kathy’s Desk is also a yardstick in my life. Like if I can’t get through the crowd in the grocery store, or the cards in my game of solitaire are all built up and I can’t get the ones I need out, sometimes just a cluttered mind, it has been Kathy’s Desk.

I moved here to the Dominican Republic with the gentle guidance of my friend, Will. He died Sunday.

I don’t know how to process it yet.

It’s all Kathy’s Desk.

 

will

 

William, easing in to his day.