February 17th, 1973: We didn't do much at all tonight. We had an early supper. During the last quarter, dad looked over at my plate and started to cry again. Before he started to eat tonight, I think dad said a little prayer to himself. I just wish God would change sides real quick. Dad goes into the hospital tomorrow.
February 17th, 2013: We ate dinner (supper, as we called it) at an old oak, claw foot table, that dad bought for mom at some point. Mom loved antiques. She eventually opened an antique store in the very back portion of the hardware store warehouse. A partition was put up, and a hole punched through the bricks of the building off the alley. Her store was called "Alley Antiques." Glassware is a little too "girly" for me. But my appreciation of antique furniture is rooted from mom's interest.
I'm typing from that table right now. A carnival glass light fixture, from our dining room, is hanging above it. The spirits are right here, right now. I can see a black, burn spot near the section dad sat nearest. His cigarette must have rolled out of an ashtray. That same section of table would get the occasional pounding of his fist, to emphasis the point that I better eat what was in front of me, and "straighten up and fly right."Dad sat to my right, with his back to the living room. Mom sat to my left, her back to the wall that separated the kitchen from the breezeway. I sat in the middle, looking out the kitchen windows to Prospect Street. The Ford station wagon would be in clear view, parked by the street.
Just before we began to eat, I glanced over to see dad with his head sort of bowed. He was resting it on his hands. His mouth was moving, but you couldn't hear what he was saying. His eyes were closed. For sure, he must have been praying or collecting his thoughts. He was all to himself. I don't know if mom noticed this, or not? This was more, new, behavior by him that'd I'd never seen before.
I could sort of understand his actions then, but sure can relate to it a lot more now. He probably knew he was terminal. Very sick at the least. If I looked over at my wife, and 14 year old kid in that condition, I'd pray too. Dad was probably a lot less concerned about himself, than he was for mom and me. What was going to happen to us. People dad's age have told me I was "The apple of his eye."
Late in the meal, he glanced over at me and my plate, and began to cry again. He didn't break down, but there were more tears.
Tomorrow would be the first time in his life that he'd miss a day of work for something other than a vacation, grandpa's death, or something not related to the store. That was probably eating on him too.
He was doing his best to appear strong. But the thoughts in his head must have surely made it so full as to almost explode. There would have to have been acceptance to the situation. But a lot of fear and denial as well.