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Lemme finish my pimmena cheese sandwich!

June 25, 2012

Except for grocery shopping, I spent the entire weekend at home – a luxury I hadn’t experienced since I was broke, single and living in Midtown. (Now I’m broke, betrothed and living in Grant Park.) Ryan and I attempted to watch Natural Born Killers instantly on Netflix but turned it off after acknowledging we both felt like dozing during the film’s first 30 minutes. When Ryan exited our television’s Netflix app, the final half hour of Philadelphia overtook the screen on the  channel where we’d left the TV. I loved Philadelphia even before I watched it. When I was growing up, Daddy often played the soundtrack on cassette tape. I really listened to the lyrics of “Streets of Philadelphia” for the first time while riding up Interstate 75 in Daddy’s maroon Jeep Cherokee. Before I only paid attention to the never-changing drum; dense, simplistic keyboard; and Springsteen’s from-the-street singing voice. But that afternoon I squinted through the tobacco-splattered window, filtering out everything but the lyrics. While Daddy obsessed over various hobbies throughout the years, he never developed a strong affinity for music; that day, though, I realized his limited taste was cool.

Years later in high school I rented Philadelphia from Blockbuster and viewed it alone on a Saturday night. I remained composed until the final scene, when a video montage of Andrew as a child plays in the living room after his funeral. Clips of Andrew swinging, scampering across the beach, playing ball with his siblings and lifting a jack-o-lantern in a cowboy fringe jacket punched my gut until I slid off Daddy’s leather recliner and sauntered toward Mother, minding her business in the dining room.

“Well that was SAD.” I stomped away and shut myself in my bedroom to engage in my near nightly funk.

“Not the video montage. NOT THE VIDEO MONTAGE!” I fretted on Friday night. Upon reflection, I should have changed the channel. Instead, I shook violently on the loveseat, audibly wheezing during the cowboy fringe jacket part. The cowboy fringe jacket seemed like something Daddy would have worn in the early ’50s – an assumption based on the few photographs my granny salvaged. Plus in my mind, the adults in the video represented Daddy’s parents, who are long dead. Naturally, I started to scream and flung my torso over the couch, smacking the rug until I figured I should stop.

“Poor Ryan,” Mother always sighs when I relay my episodes to her via telephone.

Lately I desperately have flailed for conversation topics while talking to Daddy. Even before he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, he kept our phone time short.

“Well I’ve gotta go. BYE!” he usually cut me off after the first minute. His two hang-up segues now include “Well I’m gon’ finish my nap now” and “I’m gon’ finish my bologna sandwich.”

However, Daddy caught me off guard on Sunday and masticated into the phone, “I’m gon’ finish my pimmena cheese sandwich.”

“But Daddy…” I stuttered, startled by his sudden selection of pimento cheese.

“Lemme finish my pimmena cheese sandwich!”

I brought it up later to Ryan. “I really want to try to talk to him every day, while I still have the chance,” I explained.

“It’s like you’re trying to compensate for some lost connection. I’m sorry, but it’s just not there,” he shrugged.

When taken out of context, Ryan’s answer might sound harsh, but he had endured my melancholy disposition for the entire weekend, preventing me from collapsing on the floor during my post Philadelphia sobfest and sitting with me on the covered half of our deck during the depression-enhancing rainstorm. In the midst of our silence, a wave of comfort engulfed me, reminding me of ticking back and forth on the porch swing and watching the lightning with Daddy, or even baking cookies on an overcast afternoon with Mother. I stared into the wet, gray night and understood that even after Mother and Daddy are gone, I can recreate the safety and spirit they worked so hard to establish for my sister and me. Ryan and I are moving forward and building our own home.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Timber permalink
    June 28, 2012 5:53 pm

    Please, Bobbin. Daddy’s taste in music is NOT cool. Most of it reminds me of something you’d listen to in an elevator, standing awkwardly by someone else who is too lazy to take the stairs. Anyway, I think you should abandon depressing movies for a while. Possibly even for life. I’m considering that route myself!

  2. June 28, 2012 7:09 pm

    Whatever, Timber. Prior to Daddy’s obsession with smooth jazz, he listened to some cool stuff – Springsteen, Carly Simon, The Doors. And he approved of my musical choices during my Phish phase. But yeah, watching both Philadelphia and Sophie’s Choice in one weekend was a stupid idea. I wasted all of last night watching Live Aid disc 2 and selections from Pearl Jam’s performance at PinkPop ’92, and I felt amazing afterwards… so I guess that means the time wasn’t wasted.

  3. Bob D permalink
    August 24, 2012 7:30 am

    You ladies are very lucky to be the offspring of Robert Wages, one of my favorite people. He’s a very lucky guy to be married to your lovely mother.

  4. August 24, 2012 8:08 am

    You are so right, Bob. Timber and I hit the parental jackpot. : )

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