Monday, July 12, 2010
I was going to say "Dear John" but that wouldn't match your personality, even though you were a dear and loving father and husband. It's - hey kiddo - that reminds me of that far-off time when we were young. Sometimes you called me sis, but more often you called me kiddo, just as you did when I saw you for the last time.
Before we hit our teens we spent time in the basement, playing hockey on the concrete floor and using the cold cellar door as the goal opening. Neither of us was any good at it. But you made more goals than I did. I could say I let you, but it's not true. I didn't give my baby brother any hockey breaks.
When you reached those heady teenage years you were a prodigious sleeper, like many another teenage boy. And you could hold conversations while in the land of nod. You also talked when you dreamed. I think that's how mom knew you were keeping Playboy magazines under your mattress. She told me they were there and that she would not remove them, because if she did you might find something worse and because maybe, just maybe, you were also reading the articles.
When I married, we went our separate ways but sometimes you communicated by letter. You often offered advice and you were serious, even pompous at times. We seldom agreed about any important issues, but that doesn't matter much now. I'm old enough to laugh at some of my youthful opinions, and some of yours too.
Laughter is something you were always good at. Even when you were close to the end of your life, you joked with us about your jaundice making you eligible to play Big Bird.
And, it's very likely you would have laughed if you saw me going from pay phone to pay phone in the Windsor train station, looking for a phone book that didn't have the taxi service listing torn out. It took me twenty minutes to get smart, call directory assistance and twist the operator's arm when I couldn't think of a local taxi company name. A dark variation of "get me to the church on time" played in my head. I did arrive at the funeral home on time, thanks to my daughter. I'm sorry she didn't have the opportunity to know you better at first hand, but I promise to share my memories of you with her and with her children. I know your spirit lives on and if there is a bridge game in the after world, you are dealing the cards. You can teach me when I get there.