If my father were still alive today, we would be celebrating his 88th birthday. He wouldn’t want much fuss. And we probably would hold off on the celebration until Peg and I arrived for the holidays. Then we would toast him.
My mother often said it was damn inconvenient for my father to be born between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Because there were so many other celebrations taking place. She felt that he got short shrift.
I’m not sure if my father felt that way. He wasn’t the kind of guy who looked for a lot of attention. But he did want to be remembered. So here’s one of my memories of my father.
As a child, I received the usual punishments for being mouthy and misbehaving. My parents would yell, send to my room and occasionally smack me across the butt. But the worst punishment of all came when I was older and he caught or found me doing something colossally stupid. Like…
Running out of gas.
Leaving the lights on in the car so the battery would die.
Forgetting to lock up the house.
Staying out past my curfew without calling.
Then he would ask the one question I hated to hear, “What were you thinking?”
Obviously I wasn’t thinking or I wouldn’t have acted so irresponsibly. I must have been a slow learner because he asked it often. And sometimes for the same mistake.
To this day, when I do something that falls into the mega-stupid category, I can hear my father ask that inevitable question. I still don’t have an answer. But at least I still can hear his voice.