My sister dared me. Sort of. I think my musings are comic relief for her sometimes; she needs a fix of nostalgia. Or to “hear” my voice. Either way, I’m happy to oblige. Usually.
She sends me digital nudges. A text: blogging? Or: I’m waiting! Ok. I’ll get right on it.
Living in the North (read north of the GTA) means that I try to combine meetings and appointments and parental visits. Today was one of those days: drop Molly at her favourite groomer, pick up rental hall keys, meeting st the rental hall, return the key, pick up Molly (all in the Milton area – my old stomping grounds) and head to Stratford.
I call to let my folks know I’m getting close. They know I’m en route but it’s the same question each time I call. Where are you? I’m in Shakespeare. (Yes. It’s a village near Stratford…). Ok, my dad says, I’ll meet you out front. As I pull in, there’s old faithful dad waiting pointing out where I should park. I park and before I can turn off the car, he’s got the back door open letting Molly out. I always pray for no squirrels since Molly would drag ten tons trying to catch one. My dad could be dragged far and wide. I tell dad we have to take Molly for a short jaunt and he agrees to walk along. My dad has had both knees and hips replaced. He needs a shoulder now, too but won’t do it. He’s too old he thinks. Probably right. At 87 who needs the agony of recovery. So he walks with his hands behind his lower back to avoid the arms swinging motion. Less pain that way he says.
We grab my bags from the car. And a little cardboard box. What’s that my dad wants to know. I tell him it’s biscuits leftover from my meeting earlier. Oh he says. That’s nice.
When we get inside the apartment Molly goes right into the kitchen looking for Mom. Firstly because she’s usually there and secondly because she’s usually got food. We call her the gravy train. Molly’s favourite mode of transport But mom isn’t in the kitchen. She’s in the bedroom looking frazzled. Mom, what’s going on I say. Are you ok? Oh yes. I was just looking for you out of the window. I also tried on the balcony. What took you so long?
I now bring Molly’s food along and let my mom feed her. Left to her creative canine culinary devices my mom feeds Molly a mound of leftovers minus any kibble. The result is chaos for two days after. Poor Molly loves the buffet but her system screams NO!
Next mom tries to feed me and dad. But dad has already got his mind on biscuits. I get a plate and turn on the coffee maker. Mom was going to do that but when dad informed her that he was having biscuits it didn’t compute. Threw off the whole routine. What biscuits? Where did they come from? When did you have time to bake? Coffee completely forgotten
Dad get the wine; she doesn’t have to drive says my mom. True. I’m staying overnight to take my dad to two appointments: ears and eyes (both are deceiving him these days) so out comes the wine and snacks. Did you eat dinner? Aren’t you hungry? What can I make you? I’m fine. Really. I had a big lunch. I can see the skeptical look on moms face. She doesn’t buy it. While I endure the pummeling, dad polishes off the biscuits. They’re good he says. Did you bake them? No … she’s doesn’t have time to bake. Where did you buy them? They’re leftover from my meeting. Oh. They are good. Mom, you should try one, my dad encourages.
We play cards until the hockey game starts. Come on! Let’s go watch the game. I stay at the table which is a safe distance from the den where dads giant tv (we call it the drive in since you can see it from the park) is. All 70 plus inches of high def. Rudy says you can see sweat on the pores. Gross. I think it’s like sitting in the front row at the cinema. Who does that??
Game on. It’s not looking good for the Leafs. Do you have to take molly out? Yes; she needs to pee. Ok. Your dad will go with you.
At 9 pm it’s lights out for mom. Dads still watching the game. Once moms in bed I tell dad I’m going out but he should stay put. He is relieved. Moms in bed and won’t know he disobeyed. We are naughty. It’s a bit of a drag to let your dog out in an apartment building. But Molly complies like a champ. She just wants to hit the hay. Getting groomed is exhausting.
We come back in. I want to wish my dad a good night. When I enter his “office” he’s intently hunched over a piece of paper with the illuminated magnifying glass. He doesn’t hear or see me walk in. I startle him. And ask what he’s doing. Nothing he says. What are you trying to read dad? My fortune he says. And then I realize he’s gotten a cookie out of his stash. It happens to be a fortune cookie. But he can’t read the tiny slip of paper. Hey dad, let me help you. Ok he says in defeat.
Your fortune says: others like your dramatic side.
Meh. It’s a let down. Not what he was hoping for? He didn’t get it.
Good night dad. Sleep tight.
Enough drama in Stratford for the night. How ironic.