Everyone always likes to say that you can’t go home again. If you walk down an old dusty country road for a while it gives you time to remember. Such contemplation! I believe you can go home again even if it is in your heart. You can visualize, open the front door, and turn the light on inside the home of long ago. I can see a white house across from an elementary school, and a kitchen table with a can of bean dip, corn chips, and Dad. We were the only two staring at that brown culinary bean dip wonder in a can as a fresh bag of opened Frito chips lay on the table. We ate by a strict schedule so any delineation was an event. Before any treat could be finished, he would always say that we had to save the rest for tomorrow. He grew up during the Depression so he was always saving something. Many a left-over Sunday cake was stored on top of the refrigerator. Somehow, against the rules of the house, before long it was invisible except for the crumbs. He denied responsibility with a smile.
Then there was Easter Sunday with the morning light falling through the odd geometric bold stained glass, and everyone dressed crisp and new as we sang, “One Day.” The happy sounds rang out from the full small church, and we sounded so much bigger than we really were. America was between wars, peace seemed a sure promise, and my Dad’s easter suit had the price tag hanging out from under his sleeve as he stood holding his song book. Dad had a beautiful voice, and he was concentrating on the song, but he finally felt the tap on his shoulder from Bea. He sheepishly pulled off the tag and grinned. My Dad made life feel like the end of the movie had already happened, and everything was always going to be ok. The world made sense.
He worked long hours in his business, and many a chip bag was stuffed here and there out of Mom’s sight. He was always on a diet. After chemo one day, I told him about the Frito-Lay burritos at a local fast food place. Since they didn’t list it on the menu outside it had escaped his food radar. The stress of chemo melted away as he enjoyed the chili-cheese corn chip happiness wrapped in paper.
It was the time spent that made me feel important. It was taking the time for life in small increments that made a big impact. I don’t know how many times I heard the story of the monster’s severed toe growing in the garden. By the time he got to the end of the story we were all screaming. Storytelling was in his genetic code; I just know it! Now this was just the craziest story ever. How many times could kids want to hear it? But we did because it was fun!
Back to my white house, there were such sweet memories like slowly falling asleep listening to Dad somewhere in the house singing in his rich melodic voice ringing out the words, “Precious memories how the linger how they ever flood my soul…” Clear, strong, with the ability to hit any note, he sang funny songs and sad ones. He would laugh when we teared up calling us sissies. I am a sissy right now, but I didn’t mind going home again one bit!