Months To Years Summer 2018 MTY_Summer2018_v7 - Page 38

“Your nurse will check on you Monday,” I say. I point at “P. See” written in marker across the side.  Dad chuckles.  We both know it was signed by my grandfather, “I’ll live,” he says. Peter See, long before 1970 when he died of a heart attack.  I was two; Dad was around my age now—mid- That’s his answer to pretty much anything, including the 40s. day he almost severed his thumb with a power saw or the time gout prevented him from walking.  The See’s tradition was to name the eldest or youngest son after that child’s grandfather.   I was supposed to be a Next on his agenda: Dad sends Geralynn and me to the Peter, which my parents could have named one of my two garage rafters to find his toy train set, which he wants older brothers.  Perhaps they were convinced they’d have to pass onto a great-grandson.  Geralynn climbs Dad’s more boys, rather than six daughters and two sons. old wooden ladder while I hold both sides.  I stare at her calves while she looks through box after box, and we take “That little tub’s where we all took a bath,” Dad tells me. turns talking each other into believing Dad really is a little better today. After much poking around in layers of junk— I know the story, but I listen again. some stacked neatly up here maybe since before I was born—Geralynn finds the train box. “Ma heated water on the stove for our Saturday night   bath in the kitchen.  When we got older my ma talked my For Dad, giving this train for Christmas is a gesture pa into getting a bigger galvanized tub.  Joey’s got that of kindness.  He doesn’t have a train for each great- one in his garage.”   grandchild, but he recognizes which train-loving three- year-old will appreciate his gift the most.  I make out the faded sticker—“exclusive longer life coating.”  Some of that surely rubbed off on Dad.  Why do I spot an old washtub, the sort of farm relic that I want this family relic so much?  I live in a tiny house and Pinterest-obsessed 30-somethings search eBay in order bring home only what I can put to everyday use.  I have to accessorize a rented barn for an authentic “country no idea what I will do with this washtub, but I know I must wedding.”  Weeks ago, Dad said I could have it.   have it. “Take everything,” he quipped.   “Take whatever else you want out there,” Dad says.  He stays in the house most of the time now.  Each Sunday Until my mom got sick, Dad didn’t talk much.  For most of morning as he shuffles to my car for a ride to church he their 65 years together, Mom’s constant chatter drowned glances at the disorganized mess his garage has become out anything he might have to say.  When Alzheimer’s and winces a little. took her voice, Dad finally talked.  Like a radio dial turned to another station, for the last ten years he offered us daily Geralynn carries the train inside, and I follow her with the news reports and other in-depth stories from throughout Dura-zinc-alloy-coated  Wheeling washtub.  Dad sits at his life. the kitchen table in his bathrobe, wheezing and reading   the newspaper.  His hair is slicked back and wispy curls form around his enormous ears. It seems the bigger Dad’s ears grow, the less he can hear. I hold up the washtub. At home, I set my new treasure on top of my waist-high hot tub to scrub away decades of dirt.  While hosing it down and soaping it up, I couldn’t help but think of the size difference between this two-foot-by-two-foot metal “It’s got my name on it,” I tease. tub and my three-person-jetted-spa: a clear example of the gluttony of my generation.  Now I soak in a pool of 38