My Dad has been on my mind a lot lately. He is 84 years old and his health is failing. He just stopped driving last month and today I bought Dad’s cherished 2000 Chrysler Cirrus from him. The car had a whopping 23,000 miles on it.
Dad was a police officer and he scared the hell out of his children and the local miscreants. He was a converted Catholic who fought the battle with the bottle for many years. He finally stopped drinking the year that I graduated from high school. I later found out that he quit because my brother was graduating the next year and my mother had told Dad that she was going to leave him the day after my brother graduated if he didn’t stop drinking.
He threw my three siblings out of the house under ugly circumstances. I got married 6 months after I turned 20, so I guess I didn’t have enough time to really piss him off. Actually, I guess I was his favorite – I was the youngest daughter and I idolized him. When he was young, he kind of reminded me of Andy Griffith. He took me everywhere with him. He bought me a car when I was 16. He paid for my wedding. He loves my kids and has always been good to them.
My Dad was and still is a mean, angry, funny, sarcastic, smart, bigoted, loving man. My Mom who is 79, goes to work every day not only for her sanity, but she also desperately needs the money to pay the $1500.00 monthly rent on their apartment. My dad sits at home watching TV or sleeping all day. He only wants to eat vanilla ice cream. He is often confused and my mom is worried about him every waking moment.
I almost cried when he signed the car title over to me last night. He was a police officer – he drove a car every day for over 20 years – and last night he knew that he was never going to drive again. When did he change from Superman to Old Man?
Life has changed for both of them, but I know my Mom is a strong woman who will just keep pushing forward. My Dad?? I’m not sure how much longer we’ll have him.