Cancer took “Sonny Boy” on August 13th, 2010. It was a Friday. Papa fought the good fight; stubborn Irishman who was more like a Paul Bunyan than a Cliff Huxtable. Chopping wood, welding a chair or arguing about ‘those damn politicians’ was a daily grind for the buzzard. With a beard, a coca-cola and driving his pickup; he lived for the things in front of him that day. Simple, and true to himself. Bachman Turner Overdrive, with 2 helpings of meatloaf.
He was perfect.
More pragmatist than muse, He didn’t spank; instead, he would ‘snick’ you on the back of the head with his finger. One flick and you got the point right quick:
“Knock it off. It’s about to go too far.”
Those were good days!
In early February 2010, he called my brother one evening from his fab shop. He wasn’t feeling so well, and wanted to go in to the hospital. At 68 he had already had some health challenges, but it seemed to be more uncomfort than cause for alarm.
We took him in, and they ran their test’s. They accurately gave him just months to live.
His younger brother Charles was already dying of cancer. In early June, greatly weakened by his condition, he asked me to help him into the pickup. He wanted to get it washed.
We drove into town, gave it a good scrub and then he suprised me with; “Let’s go see Charlie.” I was pleasantly surprised by this, being the chemo, meds and all the pain had made moving around in any vehicle quite a painful task for him.
I called my cousin Matt, and he said “Come on out!”
Sonny Boy was too weak to get out of the pickup, and Charlie too weak to stand up from the chair on the porch. I drove up to the side of the deck, and parked where they could see each other clearly from 10 feet away. My cousins and I did most of the talking, clowning around and getting some slight smiles as the ol’ buzzards appreciated our efforts.
Sonny Boy gave me ‘the look’ not long after, and it was time to go.
Charlie and Papa nodded a couple of times knowing, ‘this was it‘. I drove away rather slowly, and saw my Dad’s hand come up weakly for one final wave to his brother.
He then took off is sunglasses, put his head down and quietly wept.
A couple weeks later, on Father’s Day 2010, Charlie passed.
I want to tell them today they did ‘awright’. I want to answer their ‘you staying outta trouble?’ with a patented ‘YOU BETHCHA!’ and laugh. I’d like to hear him beller how the Farmer’s Almanac is more reliable than the weatherman, why Larry Czonka is better than Franco Harris, and laughingly explain back to him what an iPad isn’t.
I want to wash that pickup one more time, and grind some gears for the ol’ man just so he would ‘snick’ me on the back of the head.
Then look at him one final time to tell him:
“I love you, too.”
Wishing a Happy Memories Day, to all with Father’s lost. They did ‘awright’…