So last week i tweeted about “two incoming blog posts.” Both are still in progress. One is for this blog–on my parent’s reaction to the dogs–and the other is for WTTRP. Actually, WTRRP has TWO posts in the works….but I digress.
Every time I start to write out a post, I get distracted by something; Work, a tweet, a phone call, a grumble in my belly. The fact is I do not have the discipline required to be a good blogger or a writer. At least, I dont have it now. Especially when my attention is needed elsewhere….
But this isn’t a meta post. Oh no. I have an actual thing to discuss:
Every time I think about a blog post that would involve my father, my attention is always drawn to something else that reminds me of him. My aunts would say that “God” or “The Universe” is trying to tell me something. I think its just a happy coincidence.
For instance, as I was thinking about the dogs post, and how my dad would react to them, his favorite Grateful Dead song came on the radio. It brightened my day a bit, even if I don’t care for the Grateful Dead, but it doesn’t mean he was sending me a message.
Still… I look forward to writing what my dad would say about the puppies.
On occasion, I like to indulge in a fantasy about how my mom and dad would react to the parents of my friends. For instance, in between servings of amazing gravy (that’s pasta sauce to most of you), great beer and even better company, I wondered how my dad would get along with Falconesse’s family. First, I know they would have hit it of right away. I know Falcondad and I did five years ago when we first me, so its pretty easy to guess that my dad would have done the same.
Where as I listened to Falcondad tell stories, my dad would have come back with insanely great stories of his own. With each story, and with each beer, my dad’s accent would have returned. Pretty damn soon, it would become who is more Irish: The guy from Boston or the South Sider. I would expect them both to talk about cars they had (legally and illegal), battle scars they earned (like the lump on my dad’s head from being hit with a lead pipe) and who had the worse neighbors. I could see my dad calling falcondad an asshole, laughing it off, and producing a fine bottle of scotch. Failing intervention from a spouse, they’d probably finish that bottle together.
My mom would have been too busy with Falconmom to stop my dad from swapping stories. This is not to say there would have been a separation of the sexes. I think my mom would just want to talk with Falconmom instead of trying to show off for Falcondad. I can also guarantee that my mom would have indulged in as much wine as Falconmom. The four of them would have a party that people a third their age would be jealous of.
This is an easy scenario to imagine. It’s as easy as it is to imagine my parents and my in-laws. In all fairness, I would expect my mom and my mother in law to quickly turn their conversation towards embarrassing their respective children; however, my mom would avoid mother in law’s tequila.
This may come as a shock, but I don’t just imagine how it would be if my parents were still alive. Despite my difficult relationship with religion, I cannot help but imagine my parents in Heaven. This is what I want more than anything in the world, and I still struggle with trying to place this core belief of my parents within my own understanding of how the world works.
To be fair, I don’t think of it often. I only think of it when someone I care for loses someone they care for.
Today I’m imagining my dad showing VonDad around. I’m sure that VonDad, being the amazing human being that he was, would have his own entourage of brilliant people. But knowing my dad, I think he would approach VonDad with a perfect Rob Roy–yes, my dad would sling drinks in Heaven–and show him around the place. My dad would play pool with VonDad and loose terribly. They would swap embarrassing stories of their children. My mom would gush over Von to VonDad. I like to think that, even though VonDad might have heard it all before, hearing it from my mom would make it all the more meaningful.
Seriously, my mom would have adopted Von. So would my dad, for that matter. They’d both have to fight VonDad though, and I’m not sure my folks would have won.
All these years later, I still miss my folks. I can cope now by remembering who they were and thinking on who they would be today. I can even think–and hope–that what I imagine is true.
Von, I don’t know what you’re going through. The pain is similar to the one I still have, and the circumstances are familiar as well. But your grief is yours. I am so privileged to share it with you. I hope to be able to help ease your burden. If these fantasies help, great. If not, I’ll shut up. I’m good like that.
I know when I think on the full life my parents led, this song brings me comfort. I saw the briefest glimpse of how amazing your own dad was, and I thought of this song as well. While the world has lost so much with his passing, he has made his mark on the world and on you. For that, I am grateful.
Listen to the song as you read the post…
Today marks the 7 year anniversary of my mother’s passing. If I don’t acknowledge this, I’ll get nothing done. I know that now. I’ve actually known it for years…
Anyway. My mother would have become a huge Decemberists Fan. How do I know this? By the time I moved out, after she had recovered from my dad’s passing and her own relapse, she wanted a copy of everything I had, “except for the Led Zepplin you listened to in High School.”
I left her with all the music I had, except the Zepplin.
Seven years later, I still do not know how to put everything I feel into words. I can cry about it. I can laugh at the stories she tried to tell (she wasn’t the story teller, my dad was). I can think of how she would react to the life that I have made with Shannon (she’d be thrilled) and with how to make the world a better place (she’d be busier than ever). Hell, I could even tell you what she’d be doing (taking the train to visit Tony and I for the Supper Club/Graduation Party we are throwing for my brother). But ask me to describe how I feel, and the best I can do is blubber.
I don’t know if I’ll get around to doing another Judy post, but I can promise you, dear reader, that I’ll be thinking about her all day. And if you ever knew her, I bet you’d think of her too.
If there is a heaven, this is what it looks like:
I like to think my dad is just off-screen, making irish coffee and mocking dead republicans.
My father passed away before he could share some of our family’s most prized treasures. Two of these treasures are frequently mentioned and missed recipes. The first is his famous Caesar’s Salad. I don’t know what he did differently with his salad–more anchovy paste? More Egg? Did he let the dressing stew longer?–but I have not had a caesar salad that could hold a candle to his. For a few years after his passing I would try a number of salads just to see if it could compare. I eventually decided to save my money and swear of Caesar’s salad. Why bother trying to copy what has never been copied?
The other lost recipe was more of my mother’s work than his. My parents combined their culinary powers to produce one of the most delicious barbecue sauces known to humanity. My mother would make the sauce to my dad’s specifications. I know they used Open Pit as a base instead of ketchup, but it was a day long affair of sautéing, stewing and grilling. Both of my parents promised to teach me the secret of the Award Winning Sauce (16th out of 600+ at the Mike Royko Ribfest) but they never got around to teaching us.
Both are gone forever. There is no way to recreate the Casear’s Salad Dressing. There is chance at rebuilding my mom’s BBQ sauce… But then I would be stuck recreating their legacy instead of working on my own. My parents did not want me to dwell on what was. They wanted my brother and I to excel beyond their wildest dreams. We can’t do that if we are stuck trying to recreate the lost sauce.
If either Tony or I stuck to the past, neither of us would have learned to grill. Our father promised to fill us in on his secrets, but we had to relearn them. And we did. That’s why this Sunday, Tony and I will be trying a new sauce. We will also tap in to our recently discovered Grilling Skills and slow cook our the ribs we intend to serve as we celebrate my parents. Our new sauce may not be as awesome as what we lost, but given time, we will learn.
While I figure out what to write today, I’m relinking this post from two years ago.