Dispatches from Home – Father’s Day 2019. 

For those who knew my father, you know he could be quite gregarious, but only when he had something to say. Otherwise, he was hidden behind the latest issue of the Daily Error, as we old-timers loving call our local fish wrapper. If not reading the paper, he was enjoying a good book, usually one about history.  On the other hand, Mom was busy around the house finding things for Pop to do…much to his chagrin.

     I always called my father Pop. I got that moniker from old Charlie Chan movies. Charlie’s Number One son always called his father Pop. I thought that was pretty cool! My father was a reader, a thinker, and sometimes a talker. But fixing things around the house was not his forte. However, in a pinch, he could rise to the occasion.

    Many years ago, I arrived home for lunch after Mama and Pop had retired, and I was still working. Mama always fixed a big lunch, which I was happy to partake in. Coming into the house, the smell of freshly baked hoe cakes, turnip greens, and fried chicken caused my taste buds to twitch with anticipation. Alas, little did I know that lunch would become supper.

     “Where’s Pop,” I asked?

     “He’s putting a smoke detector in the attic,” Mom said.

     A smoke detector in the attic? Pop? This I gotta see, I thought to myself.

     I walked into the hallway and hollered, “Hey, Pop…you need any help?” Pop’s only response was a constricted groan. I followed his movements in the attic by listening to the creak’s of the rafters and his ouches and grunts. From experience, I knew how difficult it was to maneuver in the attic due to the low rafters. Mama suddenly arrived on the scene to supervise. I knew things would quickly go south.

     She briskly climbed the ladder, poking her head into the attic. “Frank, that’s not where I want that detector. Move it nearer the guest bedroom.”

    “Yes, Jackie,” was Pop’s only remark. I could tell from Pop’s head banging against the rafters that his home project was not going well.

     “Frank! Watch where you’re stepping!” Mom said.

     As I stood in the guest bedroom, I heard a cracking sound. Looking up, my face was suddenly peppered with sheetrock dust. Wiping the dust from my face, I saw Pop’s shoe crashing through the ceiling. Another grunt and a loud groan followed.

   “Frank, you’ve stuck your foot through the ceiling! You okay?” Mom asked

  “Yes, dear, I’m okay.”

  In the days that followed, Pop installed the smoke detector and “repaired” the ceiling. Thus, it remains to this good day. Sometimes, when cleaning the house, I look up at Pop’s repair job and smile. It’s just one more thing that makes this old house a home.

   Happy Father’s Day Pop! You and Mama are now walking on streets of gold. We’ll be together soon. Until then, know that I love and miss you both! 

   Loving regards, your son, Andy.