03 February 2014

Father

Dad, Mom, Tara, Tom, & Bill, West Hartford, CT., 1952
Maybe my Father liked squirrels; I’m not so sure. He mythologized Jerry Squirrel bedtime stories; sat on the edge of my bed and while he rubbed my back and whispered Jerry had seen me do such and such and I drifted into sleep. So for his little #2 son, numerating a la Charlie Chan style, my dad knew what I’d done. Jerry Squirrel was his informant. I saw squirrels everywhere ‘round my High Farms Road house so Jerrys stories were natural.

I grew into the #1 pet caregiver: cat, dog, another cat, hamster, canaries, guinea pig, Easter chick, and the final Easter rabbit. Harvey Rabbit grew large in his wire cage and we gave Harvey Rabbit to Horace The Negro Man my mother used and my father swirling his scotch and water and ice in his highball tumbler joked Horace The Negro Man made Harvey Rabbit stew. My father was a story teller swirling his scotch and water and ice in his bucket glass.
I caught a baby squirrel with my homemade shoebox-stick-string-food trap. I picked Jerry up and he bit me! Dropped ‘im, right away, shock bolting though me. Hmmmm, odd, just now I feel that, sweat bustin’ out in my armpits. I just saw Jerry, trapped Jerry, befriended Jerry, kept Jerry, my pet Jerry. I don’t think my father taught me how to trap Jerry. I know my furry memory smeared hope shock betrayal disappointment quick so fast ran away. Someone, probably an au pair, less likely my mother, tended my bit bloody finger. Jerry’s control didn’t.
According to #1’s legend, my father liked to put a number on everything. “Put a number on it,” I imagine his command, said #1 son about our father as #1 & #2 ruminated. I never heard this from him, but I sense its probable #1 did. It resonates his memorial verisimilitude and more so for #1’s desire to recall the father whom he created and felt and needed. “Put a number on it,” was my father though. It was early ‘60’s big-manufacturing quantitative he wrestled and squeezed from green eyeshade Delco Products people. Now in my ‘60’s I can sense he was so unhappy. He was too extroverted for those green eyeshade & armbands, calculating sort of things. Generous Motors, what my father called General Motors, retired him. He was lost.

My father lived his sobriety and invested Generous Motors promise. He gave what he knew and I gave just enough… to feel what I already knew and could see while my father gave.

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