oh, I try to be a good person. I try, I try, I try. I try SO HARD to be good and to be patient with my father. Some days I want to murder him however. I picked him up for church and we trundled off. It’s getting a little more hectic when I get to their house these days—I usually end up getting my mother’s breakfast for her and then we take off as I did today. During church, one of the readings said that wives should be subordinate to their husbands. I kid you not. I whipped the book out of the back of the pew and read along to make sure I was hearing correctly and I was. I looked around me and everyone just sat there like saying wives should be subordinate to their husbands in 2006 was perfectly normal. Then it was a particularly long mass as instead of a homily we had a presentation/report from the teen group on their summer mission…..including four speakers, one song and a slide show. All very impressive and I don’t mean to be callous—but perhaps a little editing? Did we have to see EVERY picture they took?
After mass we went for coffee in the parish hall. Now this morning as I was driving with Dad he did say several times that he felt like causing trouble. I took this as a good sign as it is typical Dad. So after we got our coffee I found an empty table and hopefully said, “how about here?”. He said no, “I want to cause a riot today” and did a slow speed trot through all the crowded tables until we sat down with a man we’ve spoken to before. So Dad immediately started off with the what are we going to do with this idiot Bush, etc. This other man is also a WWII vet and agreed we should get out of Iraq but wouldn’t go along with Dad about Bush. He kept saying, “it could be worse—we could have Hilary Clinton.” As they went back and forth I did the mature thing and whipped the Church Bulletin out of my bag and buried my head in it. Eventually a woman came over that knew Dad from when he used to go to church every day. She was lovely and very kind and for awhile we got onto other subjects, such as Dad’s black eyes and cuts (which are looking better). Then he went back to Bush and WWII. She eventually got up and put her arms around him and said “you have such painful memories…you need to give them up to God” He replied, “yes, but what about Bush”…. and she said “we just have to pray for those in power to make the right decision” and he said “well, what if he doesn’t have a brain in his head” or something like that. It went on this way for quite some time until I just gave up and admitted to myself that I was in hell.
I finallly badgered Dad into leaving and as we pulled out of the parking lot he said “we need to get something to go with coffee”. Now I knew he wanted a doughnut but by this point I really just want to get their grocery shopping done and head home. I tried to convince him that I could get something at the grocery store but no go. He just ignored me. Very Leo of him. So then he directed me to pull into Strawberry Fields—a natural foods store. We went in and he went over to the bread. I pulled a foccacia out and said, “how about this—it’s got sun-dried tomatoes and herbs—it looks great”. He made a face and said, “no, let’s go down this aisle”. So I followed him around the store for awhile before I gave in and said, “look, you want something sweet, right? Let’s go over to the deli part of this place.” So off we went. I’m in line pointing things out to him. The sweets were few and far between but damned if I was going anywhere else.
C: How about a muffin?
Dad: mmmm, what kind are they?
C: Multi Grain Vegan and Cranberry and Orange
Dad: (makes face)
C: (getting more desparate) How about some Blueberry Shortbread Squares?
Dad: How big are they?
C: About this big—why don’t you get two?
Dad: Let’s get three
C: (looking around at the line behind us) O.K.
Dad: Oh, how much are they?
C: $2.75 each
Dad: (making face–very Owen of him) Do they have anything cheaper?
C: (gettin desperate) WHAT ABOUT A MUFFIN? WOULD YOU LIKE A MUFFIN? THEY’RE $1.50. WHAT ABOUT A MUFFIN?
Dad: What kind are they?
C: CRANBERRY ORANGE—HOW ABOUT THAT? CRANBERRY ORANGE
Dad: O.K…..let’s get two.
I paid for the muffins and we headed for home. We walked in and Mom said “where have you been—it’s 11:15” and I said “I’M AWARE OF THAT THANK YOU VERY MUCH.” I asked her if she had her shopping list ready and she said, “well, I’ve got it started” and handed me a piece of paper that had the word ‘milk’ on it.
I got home and poured a glass of wine. I really try, I really do. Some days are just beyond me.