As usual, my wife cut me off in mid-sentence. “I know how great you are. You tell me everyday.”
I wasn’t quite finished, however. “Did I ever tell you that you’re lucky to be married to me?”
“Twice a day,” was the reply.
Well, there you go, I thought to myself. Although every dog has his day, a (great?) man is seldom given his due within the confines of his own castle. I’m guilty of this myself, of course. I remember one of the last birthday cards that I sent to my father. It pictured several geezers, craggy-faced and white-haired, stepping out of a service station washroom. One of the old boys was already ahead of the rest. “It’s fifteen minutes till the next rest stop. Let’s ride !”
I thought it was hilarious. I sent it to my father a few years ago for his eightieth or eighty-first birthday, I don’t remember which one. I don’t even know how it was received either. My father sometimes smiled indulgently at what I considered the ultimate in my witticisms, or he sometimes looked at me quizzically, as if he often wondered about the sanity of his spawn. The last such look I remember was when my siblings and I had him moved from the Oakville-Trafalgar Hospital to a lovely palliative care residence near the lake in Oakville. My sister and I both arrived in his private room before breakfast. Although Dad had rallied somewhat since leaving the hospital he had not been able to leave his bed for at least three weeks. I figured that I would do my best to cheer him up.
“Which one of you two,” I asked, glancing first at my sister and then at my father, “is going to get me a cup of coffee?”
But what goes around, comes around, of course. It was just last week in our living room that my daughter Rachelle and one of her friends were giggling over some photos that they were showing each other on Instagram. I looked up from my old-school newspaper and wondered aloud how anyone could waste so much time looking at other people’s photos, a selection which ranged from that morning’s breakfast menu to which outfit to wear to dinner. I felt like my father as I advised the two girls to spend their time on a more fruitful activity. My daughter mentioned something about my love of listening to phone-in radio sports- talk shows. “Something only old men listen to.” Her friend however, bless her heart, came rushing to my rescue.
“Rachelle, that’s not true. Your dad’s not too old. He still has his own teeth.”
Yeah, that’s right, I thought to myself, and I got up to get my own coffee.