Hugs and kisses

Nice moments with my dad have become sadly rare. His illness often leaves him frustrated and angry. But he was exceptionally calm and happy yesterday evening, and we had a sweet little time together. He can’t really converse anymore, so I just chattered to him (mostly about H and B, but I also described this photo).

Thanksgiving, 1958-ish. That’s a whiskey sour near the turkey.
Dad’s, not mine.


We had a few laughs, and a bowl of ice cream—Neapolitan, his favorite. Then I washed up as he headed to bed, followed him in, tucked him up, and kissed him on the top of his shiny bald head (our long-running joke). He laughed, and I said good-night and left.

Something about this reminded me of the mornings of my youth. Dad always got up far earlier than my mom and I. He liked to get to work early, have a light breakfast in the company cafeteria, and ease into his day. But every morning, just before he left the house, he came into my room, bent over, and gave me a kiss. He did it when I was a small boy, and he was still doing it when I was home from college and during the months I lived at home after I graduated.

My mom once learned from dad that when he came back from the service and walked into the old apartment on Southmayd Road, his mother’s reaction was simply to look up and say, “Hi, Dick.” Not a home where he got a loving kiss every morning. Which, I suppose, is a big reason why I did.

And after years of mostly pats and hugs, we’re back to lots of kissing. I give him his smacker on the dome almost every morning and frequently before bed, and I kiss him on the cheek when tea is over and Paul begins to walk him up to his little apartment. When I head out his door, having left him with a quick peck, he often trundles across the room for a firm embrace and a kiss planted squarely on my mouth. It’s partly goodnight, it’s partly thank you, it’s mostly I love you. And it’s also, clearly, goodbye.

Great love. Great sadness.



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