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Monday, June 16, 2014

You Should Always Check the Back Seat, or Happy Father's Day, One Day Late...

I found a quarter and four pennies on my way to the bus stop this morning.

Would you believe I picked up all five coins?

You would?

Sure.  There are a lot of people who would’ve left those pennies. The thing is, those people would have only 25 cents, whereas I now have 29 cents.

It’s not much in the short term, but talk to me in a couple years.

I’ll be rich. Rich, I tell you!

Sometimes we are rich through the inadvertent contributions of others.

Sometimes the contributions are deliberate.

When we -- me, you, them -- were all much younger, my father, the King of Clean and Knee-Slapping Jokes, had a hard time expressing affection verbally.

Rather than tell you how he felt, he would feed you.

Consider the family dinners in your past: Thanksgivings loaded with pies and gravies and those little home-made mints; Easters with hams and asparagus; late-night silliness with Redi-Whip and pickled pork hocks.

I moved out of my parents’ house less than a month after high school graduation, whereupon I graduated to previously unconsidered poverty.

Who moves out with a mattress, a full-length mirror, and a towel? Well, me, for one. Not that it felt that way at first. My own apartment?  Why, don't mind if I do!  Within a couple of years, however, and after the birth of my boy, the need for furniture -- and groceries -- became apparent.

Tuesdays and Thursdays were meatless days, and I had a vegetable garden – The Boy learned early to pick green beans, to eat tomatoes warm while still standing next to the plants, to eat peas whole and in the pod.

Still, there was never enough food.

My father caught on to the fact that there could be more in the fridge at my house. Perhaps because my head was always in theirs whenever I dropped in.

It’s just a hunch.

And so it came to be that I started to “find” things in my car following these visits.

The first time, I found a twenty crammed into the crease of the passenger seat.

After that, there were mysterious grocery bags in my backseat. Potatoes, onions, jars of marinated artichoke hearts, sticks of pepperoni, and other various and sundry items appeared without comment.

I suspected my father, of course; a suspicion that was proven when I found, mid-July, a stick of butter atop a roll of toilet paper in a grocery bag in the backseat.

There’s nothing really to say about that, but I did have the softest bottom for a while…

This went on for almost two years. We have never discussed this, although I did once leave a note taped to his windshield.

“I discover the weirdest things in my car.”

Some things are easy to find.

Twenty-nine cents in the street springs to mind.

And some things are found only upon reflection.

Thanks, Dad.

23 comments:

vanilla said...

As valuable as the groceries were, it seems you have found something "upon reflection" which is priceless.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari Om
Yup, got a dad like that. Welling up here... YAM xx

joeh said...

Apparently your dad knows you don't really need it any more, but leaves 29 cents around every so often just to make a statement that he is still looking down on you.

What, you think someone just dropped it?

Should Fish More said...

From the other side of the fence, it's something that is it's own reward. My girls would scrounge for change that had dropped from my pockets into the crevases of the sofa. I would buy rolls of quarters and and pour them behind the seat cushions.
It really is it's own reward. You kids are a joy to our lives.

sage said...

Nice tribute. I remember once, when I was in college, but no longer at home and paying my own way. I was sick and this was tough for it meant I wasn't able to work or be paid. My parents drove over and hauled into my garage apt bags of groceries including several jars of orange juice and other goodies. It was both needed and appreicated.

Silliyak said...

If you want to be Rich, it will take several expensive surgeries.....and hormone therapy.

Leenie B said...

Wait! Buttered toilet paper gives you a soft bottom??

Pearl said...

:-) What lovely comments!

You guys always make me laugh.

Elizabeth said...

Such a lovely story!
I think years ago, we left home much sooner because we wanted to be independent of our family - not because we didn't like them - just because we wanted to be 'grown up'.

Leaving butter in the car strikes me as rather a male thing to do.....
cheers!

Elizabeth said...

Such a lovely story!
I think years ago, we left home much sooner because we wanted to be independent of our family - not because we didn't like them - just because we wanted to be 'grown up'.

Leaving butter in the car strikes me as rather a male thing to do.....
cheers!

Joanne Noragon said...

Even when I no longer needed the money dad would press a twenty "for gas" on me. When I wouldn't take it any more my mom drew me aside: It's his money and he has no where else to spend it, so please take it.

jenny_o said...

My dad didn't have the money to give, but he loaded me up from his garden for years, even after I was financially secure. A good dad is a treasure. Hope your dad had a happy father's day, Pearl.

Delores said...

Now there's a daddy to keep.

Elephant's Child said...

Sentimental, reminiscent eye leaking here. Thank you - and your father.

Catalyst/Taylor said...

Lovely.

Launna said...

What a sweet and kind thing that your father did... he sounds so wonderful :)

Gigi said...

*swipes at eyes* No...I'm NOT crying...

But, yeah...you weren't the only one who moved out without any furniture or visible means.

Chicken said...

Man, I loved this. The way it came full circle-as your writing always seems to do. My Dad was also one who expressed his love by feeding and giving. Regarding kids moving out, wouldn't it be great if more of them could experience the thrill of independence? My first apartment cost $175 a month and included the utilities. Minimum wage was $3 and change. I waitressed and tended bar for extra money. A manufacturing job usually paid well over minimum wage. It might take a couple jobs pieced together, but you could do it. Oh God. Not only can I not relate to a single fashion trend, I'm turning into one of those, "Why, back in the good old days" people. Ah, so what. It's the natural progression of things.

Daisy said...

Wonderful post, Pearl. :) <3

Sioux said...

A lovely tribute to your dad, Pearl. My parents helped me out when I was a single parent--forcing me to take left-overs, which we desperately needed.

Linda O'Connell said...
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Linda O'Connell said...
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Jo-Anne Meadows said...

Father's Day in June is strange we have it in September just saying and you never know what might be hiding in the back seat