May 7, 2017 — How many things could you fill in that blank? I’ve been typing all afternoon, writing things my dad needs in his estate plan before he has his first chemo session on Tuesday. Somewhere in this, my brother called me. I was madly typing a document. Instead of buying forms, I take snipping tool screen shots of them and retype what I want out of them. He suggested I convert the jpeg images to a pdf, then use the text recognition feature of Adobe to turn it into recognizable text. I told him the documents I was retyping weren’t that long, something like seven pages each, and that the cleanup from how I took the screen shots would be worse than retyping. Mind you, I type really fast. He could hear it, barely any sound differentiation between the keystrokes, that is when I really get going, and I’m just inputting. My mother was the same. She could make an IBM Selectric typewriter sound like a musical instrument. I loved to watch that. She was nutty fast. My brother recounted a story about my mother’s typing skills.
We had this gerbil, Clyde. To learn how to care for Clyde, we went to the school library and checked out a book on gerbils, but we couldn’t keep the book. We told our mom how much we wanted to keep the book and asked if she would type the book for us. No problem. My mom sat down and typed out every word of that gerbil book, giving us our very own transcript of the book. Mind you, I hardly ever remember these stories that my brother remembers, but I was so happy to remember that story.
My father would do these things too. No, he didn’t type, but he could wield a tool better than any man I’ve ever known. He built me an ice rink. Every year. And by built me an ice rink, I mean he took a shovel to the park next to our townhouse, carved out an ice rink shape, all by hand, then had the fire department fill it with water. I skated there every day there wasn’t a blizzard, the “neighborhood” rink that my father built.
I wanted to write about music, but I haven’t listened to any since Friday. On Friday I heard a feature on the alternative station where they feature a band and tell them if they are good enough to keep going or if they should hang up their hats and get a real job, as they say. I’ll try to get to that, but I’m just consumed with thoughts of my parents, of my childhood, of this massive responsibility, consumed with the very heavy thoughts of the substance of these approximately ten documents I’ve worked on today that are mostly done.
Mind you, I was happy to remember that gerbil book my mom typed. My mother – the greatest typist who ever lived, making me something. The ice rink and the thousands of other things my father has made for me show me I can make these documents. And perhaps remembering about my mom writing the gerbil book was her way of watching over me, keeping me company, telling me this is a proud and honorable thing to type this crazy amount of documents today, telling me to keep going, to not get tired or sad typing these things. Perhaps she just wanted me to laugh.
I talked to my dad yesterday. He was worried about his hair. I said he could get a hat, but he said no hat will cover up his head, not a cowboy hat, not a baseball cap. Then I remembered a hat. I said I had a hat, that I made it when I took a knitting class. I told him it would cover his head and that I’d bring it for him to wear on my trip next weekend. I heard his voice quiver. He could barely get out how much he wanted the hat I made. My goodness, did I actually make something for my dad, something other than a bunch of really sad documents? Funny how life goes isn’t it?
So my point, I want….
I want my dad to not be the subject of these stories like I have of my mom, no subject of memories that stop at a certain year. I want him to live until he’s crazy old. I want him to make me more things, perhaps even an ice rink. I want him that well! I want to make him more things, just not the things I’ve been making, perhaps a better hat. So, in advance of Tuesday, I pray, hope, dream and beg that the chemo reacts like it’s supposed to in his body.
I dedicate this song to my dad. Vivian Campbell. He had to go through a bit, but he seems to live on.
I want… my Daddy to make it. Perhaps we could go to a Def Leppard concert together.