Months To Years Spring 2018 Months To Years Spring 2018 - Page 10

trees and marmalade skies.”  And then I’d hear the tires khaki pants, and we sat on the porch, sipping cool drinks on the graveled driveway.  I’d run through the house, served to us on a silver platter by our summertime maid.  throw my arms around my father, kiss him, so happy that I chattered on about my job at an advertising agency, he was home. He looked tired, but he was still tall, dark trying to engage him in conversation. and handsome.  My girlfriends all had a crush on him.  I guess that I did, too, although he was often aloof and “The creative director thinks that I would make a good preoccupied with worries about work and this mysterious copywriter,” I said. “I just did a radio spot for Art Linkletter illness that the doctors called encephalitis, a swelling of the for Handi-Wrap.” brain caused by a virus. He refused to stay home, and so every day my cousin, Doug, would drive him to his factory He wasn’t really listening to me. in Hoboken.  I wasn’t there, but I could imagine him in his laboratory checking the batches of paint, or fielding “I know that the doctors think I’m going to be fine,” he telephone calls from customers, all the while winnowing said.  “But I just feel strange.  I’m here but I’m not.” down a pack of Marlboro cigarettes.  The doctors did not tell him to stop smoking, but after all, it was 1967 and he He imagined that he had a brain tumor. I was scared that needed the nicotine to keep going. he might be right. And then he’d change the subject. One day (representative of so many of those summer “Gin and tonic in the summer,” he said.   “When fall comes, days) as I grabbed his heavy briefcase, I asked, “How was it’s back to scotch and soda.”  your day, Dad?” When the fireflies came out, we went inside for dinner “Great news,” he said. “The Pergamans [his new partners] with my mother and sister.  I turned off the Beatles, and and I have signed a lease on the factory in Lodi.” put on Frank Sinatra’s “Come Fly With Me,” Dad’s favorite album.  “It’s really something – all on one floor,” he continued.   “I won’t have to take that creaky old elevator another day.  On typical weekends, boyfriends would drive up from And everything is automated.”  Manhattan, cannonballing into the swimming pool, barbecuing on the lawn, or driving through the streets of He was really looking forward to all these changes.  Nyack with the tops of their convertibles rolled down. We all carried on as if everything was normal, except that my “And best of all,” he added. “I’ll get to spend more time father would sit alone on the porch. I’d look up from the with your mother. There will be someone else to share the swimming pool and I could barely make out his figure in headaches of the business.” the shadows. Sometimes, I shivered seeing him so isolated.  I wanted my real father back – the debonair raconteur He then changed into his bathing suit and walked down who loved to engage my friends in witty conversation, to the pool.  I watched him from the porch.  His muscles always curious to know what they were up to.  remembered the years of competitive swimming in college, Instead he said, “It’s great that you and your sister can and whatever imbalance he suffered vanished in the enjoy this place. I think I’ll just sit here in the shade.”  warm water.  He glided effortlessly across the length of the pool – back and forth, back and forth. Good therapy, My mother and father fought a lot that summer. Their I thought.   Overhead, birds swooped down into the elm voices carried through the house out on to the porch.   tr