by Dani

Typical Sunday dinner at our house.
A friend brings over a great chicken he cooked on his rotisserie. Everyone is sitting around the table. While we finish serving I try to reinforce some basic manners (i.e. wait until everyone is served to eat) hoping my father will absorb a few lessons just by fact of being in the room. Dinner is served.
Papa- “Who cremated the chicken?”

There aren’t a lot of topics that I can cover with my father these days. At least not with children in the room. I have unspoken rules here which render him relatively speechless. No swearing. No racist comments. No locker room talk.

It’s not that he intends to say things not meant to be heard by children, disrespectful to us broads women or minorities in general. It’s simple ignorance.  I try to discretely move him to modify these behaviors without embarrassing or angering him but time trumps reason and so far I’ve only succeeded in getting him to say “thank you” and drop the occasional “please.”

“Pop, if your legs are up for it you should come upstairs and see our new room. I finished redecorating it and would like you to see it.”

“Yeah. Maybe.”

“You know, your room could use an update. Maybe I could make you a new headboard too.”

“I have one.”

“I know. But it’s a little nicked up. I could give it a fresh coat of paint.”

“I’d like one of those new mattresses where you can put a glass of wine on it and it won’t spill.”

“Dad, You just got a new mattress.”

“It’s worn out already. We (you) need to turn it.”

“You could sleep on the other side until I change your sheets.”

“No way. My lamp is there next to me. My water, my pills… No”

*If you won’t reach for your own water and your 14 hour stints of immobility have created an actual rut in your bed in less than one year, who or what activity is in danger of spilling your wine?