The old man enjoyed fatherhood when his two sons were little children. He enjoyed them a whole lot less when they became teenagers, or, as he liked to frame it, “parasitic irritants.” That laid the groundwork nicely for an uncomfortable co-existence as adult children and aging parent.
Communication was his specialty. Preferred method: glaring in my direction, then asking my mother questions along the lines of “What did he do to his hair?”
When his hearing started to decline, the general consensus among the family was, It doesn’t matter much — he never listened anyway.
Did I mention that he worked for the Internal Revenue Service for 33 years? He prepared my filings for a while, never failing to note (correctly) that my record-keeping was as inadequate as my income. One year I got an audit notice. He went berserk. “What did you tell them?” he hollered. “What did you do now?” Of course, all I did was sign the form that he completed for me and mailed it in.
This was the final year he prepared my taxes. Too bad he’s not around these days so I could ask him about the professional manner in which Lois Lerner’s team of doucherockets is handling that pesky email controversy.
He told me something once that was very moving and insightful, but I forgot what it is.
Happy Fathers Day!