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She was ugly as homemade sin.

August 14, 2012

While Mother, Daddy and I walked the dogs on Saturday, the conversation somehow transitioned to my USAA bank account. I listed many of its perks, particularly that USAA reimburses me for all ATM transaction fees.

“Woo, let me tell you,” Daddy interjected. “My training brigade commander Lieutenant Colonel Thurman* gave us a whole lecture on balancing our checkbooks. None of his men were gonna bounce a check.”

“Where was that?” I asked.

“My Infantry Officer Basic Course at Fort Benning. No sir, LTC Thurman saw to it that none of us would bounce a check under his command. That was his pet peeve.”

Apparently Daddy’s impeccable uniform impressed LTC Thurman. Daddy learned to keep his uniform neat, clean and ironed during his time in the Corps of Cadets at North Georgia College. After starching and ironing his pants, Daddy pushed a stretched-out coat hanger into each leg to separate the fabric. Then he sat on a desk and held his legs parallel to the floor, so he could put his pants on without breaking the crease. He looked so immaculate that LTC Thurman made Daddy take his daughter out when she visited from out of town.

“She was ugly,” Daddy shuddered.

“What did she look like?” I laughed.

“Ugly.”

“Where did you take her?”

“To the Lawson Army Airfield Officers Club for dinner. We watched a band and danced.”

“Did you kiss?”

“No, she was ugly! She was ugly as homemade sin.”

“I hope you smelled all right,” Mother sighed.

“What? I smelled fine.”

“I told you I had to get your daddy to start wearing deodorant,” Mother murmured.

Daddy eats an ice cream cone on vacation in May 2005.

Daddy eats an ice cream cone on vacation in May 2005.

About every hour after lunch Daddy mentioned that they had run out of ice cream. I have been scolding Mother lately for giving Daddy access to junk food like Varsity hot dogs, fudge and ice cream – the cause of his rapid weight gain. I read on the Alzheimer’s Association support forum that people diagnosed with AD should adhere to best practices that might help slow the disease’s progression; one of the best practices is to stick to the Mediterranean Diet. I worry that every potato chip, bologna sandwich and chili dog Daddy inhales strips away another quality day with him. However, I also understand that depriving Daddy of one of the few things that still brings him joy is easier said than done.

“Lynn, let’s go get some ice cream,” Daddy said while I gathered my suitcase and prepared to return to Atlanta.

“Tell Bobbin what you wanna do.”

“I wanna go get some ice cream,” he repeated to me.

“Daddy, I’m worried about how much junk food you’re eating. I keep reading that people stay stable longer if they eat healthy.”

“I’ll pass, then,” he shrugged and sulked away.

“Ugh. I feel bad. Mother! I feel bad!” I stomped around her.

“Now do you understand how it feels?”

“I know it’s hard.”

“The only reason he hasn’t gone to bed yet is so he can ask me to take him to get ice cream after you leave,” she whispered.

I drove to the Citgo a couple miles away, filled my tank and circled the block to check if Mother’s car remained in the open garage. Shockingly, Mother and Daddy hadn’t sped off to Bruster’s. I sat at the end of the quarter-mile driveway and stared at the empty space where Daddy once parked his car, the weeds suffocating the creek where Timber and I used to play, and the evergreen tree Mother planted in memory of her own father. Life is a cruel biological cycle, I thought, and I accelerated away.

*Name has been changed.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Timber permalink
    September 26, 2012 5:37 pm

    I hate seeing his empty parking spot, too. It’s stupid, but it’s just another reminder

  2. September 26, 2012 8:06 pm

    I don’t think it’s stupid. Daddy used to chauffeur us everywhere, and now he has to be driven.

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