Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Very Next Day

The very next day, neither my wife or I felt the need to replace the very delicious ice cream my elderly father had the wherewithal  to complain about the day before, and which I wrote about in last month’s column.
    I, however, had my concerns.
    “You know my father likes something sweet after dinner,” I reminded her.
    “I’ve got it covered,” she assured me.
    When I continued to persist, she said, “Isn’t there someplace else you need to be? I mean, besides here bothering me?”
    Actually, no. There wasn’t. So I sat down and waited for something dark and hot that comes in a liquidy form.
    Some people think I drink a lot of coffee.
    That's because I do.
    I don't have a lot of bad habits, but if drinking coffee is a bad habit, then that's one of them. I don't drink, I don't smoke, I don't take drugs, but put a cup of coffee in front of me and I'll make it disappear like a donut within reach of my mother-in-law.
    After dinner, my lovely wife was kind enough to serve me the cup of coffee I was anticipating. I sat at the table and waited for her. It was our usual routine to sit outside in the patio and unwind from the day, but, ever since we invited my elderly father to live with us, our routines have changed.
    I looked in the direction of the patio. I looked at my wife. She looked at my father. He looked at her, and she asked him, "Would you like some ice cream before we go outside?"
    "Uh..." he said.
    My wife cut him off at the pass.
    "It's from the PX," she said.
    I looked up from my cup. I didn't know my wife had gone out to buy any ice cream, much less from the PX.
    "It's from the PX."
    "What flavor?"
    Now, before you start to think my dad's gone senile, let me assure you, he hasn't. It just takes him awhile for something to sink in. It may be because of some hearing loss due to his advanced age. Or it may be that nothing we say is of any interest to him. Or he may just be yanking our chain.
    Personally, I think it’s because his brain has worked hard all of his life and now it's enjoying his retirement along with the rest of him. I’m sure, instead of being in our kitchen, his brain would rather be on some beach in Miami checking out the itsied-bitsied, teenied-weenied, yellow polka-dot bikinied babes.
    Or maybe that's something I'd rather be doing.
    I get confused.
    My dad, on the other hand, doesn't.
    Every month, when his financial statements come in, he goes over them line by line, looking for any kind of a discrepancy. All of his investments, all of his savings, all of his expenditures...  he's right on top of them. It drives the people at the bank nuts.
    “Those characters,” he calls them. “You can’t trust any of them.”
    On the other hand, his monthly trips to the bank does give my dad a social life.
    But I digress...
    "Sure," my Dad said, referring to my wife's offer of ice cream, "It can't be any worse than what you gave me yesterday."
    Lifting one eyebrow, my wife walked over to the freezer and took out the same container of ice cream from the day before.
    “Just a little,” my father insisted. “You always serve me too much.”
    My wife got his favorite bowl and served him...  just a little.
     He gingerly tasted a spoonful.
    "Hey!" he said, with enthusiasm, "now this is what I was talking about!"
    He held out his bowl for more. My wife looked at me, and our eyes met. We were both smiling. She took the bowl and served him a generous amount more.
    As she placed it in front of him, he asked, "From the PX, you say?  It's good."
    Smack, smack!
    "I like the flavor."
    Smack, smack!
    "Much better than yesterday's ice cream."
    "Your son bought it," my wife informed him.
    "Your son."
    "My son?"
    "Yes, your son. He went to the PX this morning.”
    “He went to the PX? How come?”
    “Because you said you didn't like the ice cream from Costco."
    "Yeah, that one from Costco wasn't very good," he remembered. Then his voice soften, and he shook his head a bit. "My son bought me this ice cream?"
    “Yes,” my wife said.
    I guess he couldn't believe it.
    "Yeah...  well… hmmm...  this one’s definitely better," my father said.
    Smack, smack!
    "I can tell the difference right away."
     Smack, smack!
    "Much better."
    "I'm glad you like it, dad," my wife told him, and put the container of Costco ice cream back in the freezer. That's why I love my wife. Because she's smart. She thinks on her feet.
    And she gives me all the credit.
    As my father finished up the last of his "much better" ice cream, he dropped the spoon into the bowl, and made a final smacking sound.
    "Can I have some more?" he asked.
You can find The Duchene Brothers bonding over a nice, hot cup of coffee over at, or, and even @JimDuchene. Come join us.
as featured in Desert Exposure Magazine
Raising My Father  American Chimpanzee

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