Friday, February 09, 2007

THE POTENTIAL POSSIBILITIES

"Now take my hand and hold it tight.
I will not fail you here tonight.
For failing you, I fail myself
And place my soul upon a shelf"
The Book of Counted Sorrows

Part 2
1977 (continued from previous post)
I don't remember the real reason I moved back home. My best friend and I had an Apartment for the last two years. The sign over our front door read in rustic script on a weatherbeaten board "Little Hoss Ranch" .
'Ranch" was right and we entertained nightly.

Every week my mother would call and I was generally so stoned that I could not speak.

I held a good job at the time as 1st Cook for a gourmet Restaurant making the whopping sum of 3.15 an hour. I didn't know it then, but I had yet to grasp any real Culinary Fundamentals.

I did not know that within the year my father would be in a VA Hospital and that these would be the last days that our relationship would be domestic...that this would be the last time to fix his breakfast and have him tell stories about coffee so hot that it had to be "Saucered and Blowed" several times before it was drinkable. A stack of pancakes and a frosty glass of milk goes a long ways towards relaxed conversations and the turning of dusty pages. So does the Psuedo Welsh Rarebit I used to fix that he enjopyed immensly.

More so, so much more so, than the words "You have a Visitor, Jack".

It would be the last chance to have him wax about the Steaks he had eaten in Chicago at Northwestern in the years before his time in North Africa, as he wolfed the ones I had prepared in the backyard. I still think those were the best steaks I have ever cooked.

And I did not realize at the time just how much my mother was relieved to have both her boys at home, or how much help I was in taking care of an early onset Alzheimers patient*. To think that I cried a sorrowful cry the day that I finished moving back home, with the 3 Lisa's that had helped me move saying 'Living at home won't be so bad".

Dad and I , it seems to me now, were equally handicapped.

Dad used to tell me the Doctors were wrong. Dad used to tell me he could "beat this thing". We would be heading out the back door to look at the Alaskan Freight Canoe that we had bought. We were going to cover it with an Epoxy resin Dad knew about. She was was in bad shape, this vessel, and a real concern for my Mom.
Mom would whisper to me in hushed tones "You and he both try to fix things with gum wrappers and soda straws, you will never get that thing afloat!" Looking back I know that she was right, but at the time I thought she was kind of poisoning our well. All we ever really did was look at it and discuss the potential possibilities.

Dad would say 'These Doctors dont know what they are talking about. I can beat this thing. I can see... the nit... on the nut... of a gnat." His is voice would crack with something torn between a rage and a will and a fear.
"Sure you can, Pop... if anyone can , it will be you."
And we both would enjoy a somewhat disingenuous Belly laugh.
His ice blue eyes would dance and look straight into mine for moment. Then he would turn and ask
"Now wheres that doorknob?" He knew the door was there but the knob always eluded him.
"I got it Dad"
Now the laughs came real. With his quick wit, the irony never eluded him.
Laughter always trumps sorrow.

And it reminds me of just how quick and observant you have to be to catch a Night Crawler, much more dceptive a creature tham one would imagine, and the importance of gathering bait. To be continued.....

Another addendum*
You can google Early Onset Alzheimers for the Medicos on it so I will refuse leaving the link. I can put it into a bit of a personal perpective for you... you hears about folks in their 60's and 70's that are Alzheimers victims... my Dad became completely disabled at the ripe old age of 58 and unable to work...I was barely out of High School...and the story you just read was but 2 years later, Dad being 60.

I won't try to tell you that these were the best days of my life, but I will say that there has been much fruit and treasure; still today there remains both of these, unimagined, yet to be fully realized... so many potential possibilities...

11 comments:

red-dirt-girl said...

post me a box of hankies, because the sorrow in my heart is crying for yours......sobbing. rdg

Barbara said...

WOW! He was just my age. It must be harder to see a parent lose his mind than to see him succumb to cancer fully knowing what he is in for. That's why I say, "Please Lord, make it quick and painless, and please don't take my mind a little bit at a time." What a powerful post...

steve said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
GrizzBabe said...

I know someone whose wife has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and she is in her 40's.

What the hell is a "nit"?

David said...

Sometimes, there are silver linings in these things.

Although my dad's mental capabilities diminished continuously over the 10 years subsequent to his stroke, his disposition became continuously nicer.

And, prior to the stroke, he had quite a mercurial temper and had trouble expressing love. After the stroke, he became the sweetest most loving old guy you could ever hope to meet.

I should do a post about this one.

steve said...

RDG-you're such a raw nerve! Tnhere is a happy ending here, you know...
Barb- I think the difference is negligable...Mom had a stroke and Cancer, eventually succumbing to COPD...every family has their own story...some with stories that make mine look pretty tame... whats is somewhat unique about mine, I think, is that the treasure was easy to find.
GRIZ- IN THEIR 40's-WOW...Dad acyually started to show symptoms when he was 55 , maybe 56...he would stop about 15 feet in front of stop signs.
A "nit" is a lice egg...I assume you were afraid to go to Wikipedia for this! hE-HAA-HA-HE-O!
david- yes , you should...your story and mine are different in detail...similar in that for a time we had a whole new side to someone close and... well, I'm really just better at telling what happened and letting ya'll figure it out.

Old Lady said...

It it great that you are archiving all of this. It validates so many things important to you. I know it is difficult, but keep on.

Had any milkshakes lately?

steve said...

Hey ol Lady; its hasn't been hard emotionally to write all this, it just takes me a lot of energy with my typing and writing skills to get a few good paragraphs. The stories are pretty well settled for me, but its not like I write at a level thatwords are jumping onto the page for me...

You bet I had shake; fix one almost every day! You?

Mother of Invention said...

I'm sorry you were robbed of future years with your dad who was so obviously important to you. You're right though, we all have our stories and crises we have to get through. My mom is at a really early stage of memory loss and it doesn't seem to be progressing really fast, so this is a blessing as she is already 85, and realistically , won't live too far into it anyway.

I love that you're all this, Steve.

Mother of Invention said...

I'm sorry you were robbed of future years with your dad who was so obviously important to you. You're right though, we all have our stories and crises we have to get through. My mom is at a really early stage of memory loss and it doesn't seem to be progressing really fast, so this is a blessing as she is already 85, and realistically , won't live too far into it anyway.

I love that you're all this, Steve.

Annelisa said...

Phew... I feel for you Steve. My mum's Alzheimer's has taken her away, bit by bit... but my sisters and I think she's still there - just not able to express herself. Today, she seemed to be in a 'daze' and suddenly she turned and told me she loved me, and gave me the biggest smile you ever did see... she's definately in there.

Sounds like you take after your dad with story-telling... was he as good as you at it?



btw - I see you haven't managed to seperate the blogs yet... haven't you dared yet? :-)