Saturday, December 8, 2012

oh daddy dear you know you're still number one

My father lingers at the table. He is finishing his dessert and he still has a full glass of wine. There will be conversation.

"I was not a good child," he begins, "I'm surprised my father didn't shoot me" and  I'm surprised he's telling me this.  After almost ninety years he chooses to drop this confession on my dinner table with Bing Crosby crooning Christmas tunes in the background.  I find this incredulous and as if he can hear my inner thoughts he says, "I know the masses will remember me as an honest and true man but that's not what I was. I was an imp and a scoundrel and a vagabond." This is how my father talks like he has a Webster dictionary and a Shakespeare manuscript in front of him.

 Sonny, nee Albert is the eldest in his family but his mother had delivered a stillborn child the year before at the Catholic hospital. The doctor was late and the nuns tied her legs together to keep the baby from birthing. The poor infant suffocated and my grandmother would not return to "that Catholic torture chamber" for another fifty years. I'm sure Nana had some spicier words to describe her situation because she could swear like a serious sailor. When I visited her in later years she would gaze at her arthritic withered hands and mutter, "sugar."  I knew when my younger sister showed up Nana used stronger language to describe her discomfort, those two were cohorts in borderline behaviors. I was such a good little Catholic back then and nobody cussed in front of me.  I went on to commit great and notorious sins but I am still remembered for my early piety and I swear when I enter a room the tone turns somber and church like.

As for my father he never did give me a lot of information about his deviant youth. Something about stealing everything that wasn't nailed down and it reminded me of the time he talked about his stint in the Marines.  He went on leave in New York City and his eyes got big and fuzzy at the memory and then he remembered  I was sitting there.  His face shifted as if a window shade was pulled down and he went silent.  If I had been my brother the story would have been told accompanied by much laughter and foot stomping, maybe not the stomping.  Girls just want to have fun but lots of time we really have to work for it.


MrDaveyGie said...

Well papa has told me some things. But we are under the man bond of silence........

Arizaphale said...

Perhaps if you actually swore when you entered the room their tone might lighten up?