Dad and his Sour Cream
My father is eighty-one years-old and enjoys when we go out to dinner because he likes my company too. I am a good sounding board for his complaints about his neighbors and all his projects he has yet to do or the household chores he needs to complete.
So, we go out for dinner at 3:30 p.m., 4:00 if he’s in no particular hurry.
We talk about the usual things like the weather, our cars, relatives, etc. But he always amazes me that two simple projects can take up his entire day. A trip to the pharmacy and a doctor appointment can fill his day. Most of us run by the pharmacy to/ from the doctor and still have a major portion of the day to accomplish other things. If he has three things to do in a day, he’s harried and out of breath from “all the running.” My dad LOVES to take his time which means he enjoys chatting with his pharmacist or the doctor or anyone who will listen for that matter.
I should mention also that our dinners take up to two hours sometimes because he is too busy talking rather than eating.
Dad likes sour cream which he had for a baked potato. It came in that little tub with the main meal. Dad immediately put two teaspoons on his potato but then ate two more heaping spoonfuls like ice cream. He ended up with a small dollop on his chin which I pointed out and he said, “I’ll get it eventually!” and kept eating. Then fifteen minutes later, I could see him digging the remaining sour cream out onto his potato. He complained, “They never give enough sour cream!” I just balked and smiled as I told him that he shouldn’t have been eating it like he had a bottomless container; then he would have had enough for the potato. I told him that next time we will just need to ask for another extra portion so then he should have plenty.
We had a nice dinner and I enjoyed talking to Dad and the chuckle he gave me.
It brings tears to my eyes though because my father has a weakening heart and his time is limited. He has had open-heart surgeries, catheters, nitroglycerine pills and sprays over the years and recently - a defibrillator and now patches.
I have a hard time when I look at my frail eighty-one year-old father when he’s short of breath or having a hard time standing up straight. I cringe when I look at his misshapen fingers wracked with gout or arthritis. I hate the fact that no doctors seem to know for sure what it is attacking his fingers or how to treat them. I have very little faith in these so-called experts because - look at my situation. No-one really knew how to treat PML back then in 1999. I surprised many doctors just by surviving and then the rest when I was determined to thrive.
I look at him and remember the vibrant strong man who would adeptly show us how to do various things and play with us when we were children. From Hide-and-Seek, swimming and even weeding the garden he moved gracefully doing all his fatherly responsibilities going from one to the other effortlessly. My father was always an active man. He enjoyed doing projects around the house like remodeling and tackling any fix-it task. He liked yard work and gardening and was very proud of each new venture and did not hesitate to show us children the benefits of hard, but worthwhile effort, and when we saw the end result; we beamed at our success.
My father taught me a lot. I never realized how important it all was until now.