28 August 2012

To Destin, For Dad

My Dad is sick. 

That’s never happened.

Just ask him, he’ll tell you.

Well, except for that one time.  A seed got trapped in a crook in his colon.  I met them in the emergency room…Dad swallowing a hospital bed while Mom looked on…from a distance…clutching her purse, under an expression that begged the question, “What now?”.

As long as I can remember, Dad has prided himself in the fact that he’s never had a headache.  In some versions, a headache becomes the “common cold”.  No matter.  To hear him tell it, he’s had neither. 

He’s confrontational and cantankerous and a few other “c” words that, when taken together, translate into “just plain hard to get along with”, and now he’s sick. 

When he called, he blamed a hot dog…a foot-long Coney; admittedly, not the kind of thing an eighty-one-year-old man ought to eat.  It had to be food-poisoning, he reasoned. 

But he didn’t get better.  He stayed sick.  And common sense will tell you, a hot dog doesn’t have that kind of staying power.  Not even a foot-long Coney.  Food poisoning comes, tries to kill you and, if unsuccessful, leaves.  Three day nausea is something else…something serious…some kind of sickness. 

He tells me he’s better. 

“But you’re still coming down, aren’t you?  I’m still sick!  I’m weak!”  This, from the man who never had a headache…or the “common cold”…depending on the version.

And, I did come. 

And, I brought a sister.

And, we did laundry, and dishes, and we made the bed.

And when Dad said, “You know what sounds good?”, I got my keys. 

I visited fast food restaurants I never knew existed and ordered with specificity, because “they never put enough sausage” on the sausage and gravy biscuit.

On Saturday, it occurred to me I’d been “at the beach” for almost an entire day and never seen it…not really.  I mean, I’d caught a glimpse between hurricane-proofed monoliths upon our return from the Potato Chips/Malted Milk Balls/Vanilla Ice Cream run, but that was it.  I hadn’t really heard it.  I hadn’t watched it, and I definitely hadn’t smelled it.

But, I fixed that.

After dinner, I got my chair…the one that still spills a little bit of Myrtle Beach every time I take it out…and I headed for the sand. 

On the stairs, a couple stopped me.

“Excuse me!  Are you going to have a hurricane here?”

I thought several things at once.

I thought , “They think I’m a local.”(This was kinda cool.)

I thought, “They’re just a young couple on their first night of vacation.” 

I thought, “Bless their hearts.”

I shared wise weather anecdotes I’d collected during the preceding 24 hours, before moving to place my chair in a spot that would allow me the best use of Instagram.  I know…that sounds silly…but I haven’t quite got the hang of it.  I’d love to be able to edit more…

After taking several severely out-of-focus photos, I screwed my chair into place and sunk into it.

To my left, a meaty woman seemed unaware that most of her bottom had escaped her suit.

To my right, two boys flew kites.

The worried couple waded.

White caps rolled in bringing memories…of my mother in a two-piece…red with tiny flowers.  And she… so brown…so confident.

And, my sisters, dripping castles.

And, my children, with my grandson. 

Jennifer and Elijah, dripping castles just like we did.

And my father…and floats…plastic floats in pastel colors that rolled with the waves…rolled and rolled until…if you closed your eyes, sleep could come…

© Copyright 2007-2012 Stacye Carroll All Rights Reserved

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