OHHH! HI! (He smiles at me from his bed, where he is lying down, fully dressed (jeans, belt, socks, red long sleeve shirt, black leather jacket and all his turquoise jewellery) listening to his CD "Country Classics".)
The bed is lowered so he doesn't hurt himself if he falls out; it's about 3 inches off the floor. I pull up a chair and sit down, putting my feet on the end of bed, as if the whole thing was an ottoman placed there for my comfort. He doesn't seem to mind.
Have you had supper?
How was your day?
I stop talking and listen to the music of my past with him. I know the lyrics even though I haven't heard Little Jimmy Brown for years.
After a few minutes he starts talking.
My brother John is bald. His wife always wears a dress.
I have a dress on today, I came straight from work.
You do? He leans over the edge of the bed and notices my skirt and boots.
Well. How about that. Butch is dead.
He's in heaven. Still alive.
I still love Butch. His brothers called me a DP.
That wasn't very nice.
They didn't know what I could do. I showed them. I did OK.
You sure did. You worked hard. And you were very smart with your money.
You sold your house?
Where do you live?
In your basement.
You DO? His voice and eyebrows go way up.
OH YEAHHH. There's a bedroom down there. Across from the pool table. And the 80" TV.
Yup. That's where I'm sleeping these days. And I use that little black bathroom.
I like the Schmidts.
They like you.
I would like to play pool with Art again. He could rack up those balls good.
Well, keep doing your exercises ...
Art always looks clean. And his face is shaved. Like he shaved specially for me or something.
Well maybe he does.
Drew is cute.
Is he going to get married soon? I wonder if he'll invite me to the wedding. Johnny Wiens is dead. He smoked. I never smoked. Do you like beer?
No, I don't. Do you?
Nah, I never liked beer. Is Hank back from his holidays?
Yeah, him and Ellen are back from Hawaii. I saw Colleen on Sunday, we went for a walk together. She said she came to see you again?
Yes. She visited me. We talked.
Yeah, she said she likes visiting you.
That's nice. I don't drive anymore.
I'm driving your red truck today.
YOU ARE? Who got it started?
It's a gas guzzler.
It sure is. Is it OK that I'm driving it?
Yes, that's fine. We don't charge you rent do we?
No, you don't. I'm a loser daughter who is sleeping in your basement and driving your truck.
You're divorced, right? You had a plum tree? Clint lives by himself in Vancouver. When Max got baptised, I wore a suit and Mark came to the church. I need a shave.
Are you all bristly?
Yes. I need a shave.
Well, dad. It's a sexy thing these days for guys to have a few days of stubble on their face. Girls like it.
Yeah, they do.
I need a shave.
Maybe they'll help you with that tomorrow.
I decorated my 52 Chevy. Johnny didn't like it so he pulled all my pom poms down. Barbie and Holly used to be friends, didn't they?
Yeah, back at Killarney.
Who's that guy again? The one who shovels snow? He's my favorite son-in-law ...
Yeah, Daryl. Johnny Cash is dead.
He's in heaven. Probably hanging out with Butch. At a Dairy Queen having rootbeer floats.
You used to stand between me and Billie in the car and say, "chips anna coke?" You liked chips and coke.
Whoa, that was a long time ago. I don't ever drink coke anymore.
Me either. I like Orange Crush. Johnny used to bring me Strawberry milkshakes. I don't know where I live. Where am I?
In a type of special hospital for people who can't walk. You're in Surrey. And mom is living in the house you built her. And that's in Surrey too.
If Billie couldn't drive, she'd take a taxi. I don't know what I'd do without her. She's a good woman. She was a May Queen.
What kind of place do I live in? Is this a home?
It's like a home. And this room is yours. It's for people who had strokes.
I'm a lucky man. I don't have any pain. I'm 77. Abe is 84. He always has a tan.
You used to always have a tan too.
Did you ever go skiing?
Yup. You used to take us to Manning Park.
I used to go with the guys, every Tuesday night to Grouse.
I remember. And you wore that yellow bunny suit.
Johnny Janzen's son ...
Yeah, Glenn. He's a nice guy.
He knocked on our door and asked where he could get a good hamburger. I don't eat hamburgers anymore. I don't like them.
Yeah. I don't eat many hamburgers either.
When I was 16, I had the world by the tail.
We all did.
We had some good times on Dawes Hill Road.
We did. Remember when we used to slide down the driveway on pieces of arborite. And our bums would catch on fire they were so hot?
I hosed Mrs. McMichael down. She got all wet. I was tired of listening to her.
You sure did.
They tore down the house. And the shop and the green barn.
I know. Sad, eh? My kids miss the farm.
We had some good times there. All the parties. With the dirt bikes and motor cycles in the back field.
You're divorced from Mark? We used to have a 22 suite apartment. The Wedels were our caretakers. I think you should go now. Put your chair back. Turn on the music again. I'll shut off my light.
OK. Love you.
I love you too.
I kiss his forehead. He kisses the air.
Gnite, Jane. You're our oldest.
Three things I'm thankful for:
1. Dinner last night. All 4 kids were came. I cooked. And we sat around at talked for a long time. Like, a really long time. The last to leave was Drew. At 1:15 am. Best Night Of My Life.
2. Stars. There are So. Many. I couldn't stop looking at them tonight. Are we having the best run of weather in forever? Or am I just aware of how few days we really get rain? Perfect night for being outside. So glad I had someone to walk with.
3. Hand cream.