Friday, September 20, 2019

Friday Flashbacks

TBT:  Today's post isn't about The Mews and it is long, so I hope you'll forgive me.  This week in 2012, Dad had been staying with me a few months.  Mom had died in 2010 and Dad was going downhill  physically and mentally.  He had fallen down and hit his head.  Somehow he drove himself to a hospital.  I didn't know that until the hospital called a couple of weeks later, finding my phone number in his wallet.  They wanted me to come get him "yesterday".

They said he simply could not live alone, drive, and prepare food safely.  Apparently, he variously thought he was in a hotel in PA and/or between homes of the 60s.  I was confused and not sure what to do, but I convinced them to give me a week to arrange things.  Fortunately, he had great insurance, so they agreed.  I finally worked out a plan. 

I despise driving.  An hour and I'm falling asleep from boredom.  But my sister said our brother didn't mind driving at all.  So I came up with a plan.  Since I was retired and a homebody, I would clear out the Mews Room and buy a bed for Dad.  My brother and I would both to fly to FL where Dad lived.  We would pack up all Dad's daily stuff (clothes, and meds, and whatever valuable stuff we could fit in Dad's car) and my brother would drive Dad to my place while I stayed behind to shit down utilities and such and then fly home ahead of their arrival.  My sister (her offer) would fly down in a few weeks to arrange for disposal/sale of the furniture and other stuff and the row house.  My brother would leave Dad with me, Dad would sign over his car to my brother (who really needed a working car), and drive home.

My siblings said my plan was "too complicated to work", but they would go along with it since I would care for Dad.  But I was an analyst it didn't seem THAT complicated.  I bought a Cricket cell phone for emergency calls while travelling.  I bought the plane tickets.  I arranged to rent a car at the FL airport.  I gave my brother more than enough cash for gas and motels and food on the trip. Yes, I paid for it all.  I could; they couldn't.  I even made sure to tell my brother to make sure we were both at the ticket counter so we would travel together without problems.

The new bed arrived and I set it up.  I called my brother the night before to confirm our plans and make sure he knew to not check in if he got there before me.  I printed out Mapquest directions from the airport to the hospital, to Dad's place, from there to I-95 N, and through my neighhborhood.

What could go wrong?  Well, guess who sailed right past the ticket counter through security, and was waiting in the boarding room?  Not me...  My brother had only 2 things to do.  Have his wife drive him the the airport and wait at the ticket counter. 

I should have experimenting with the new cricket phone.  By the time I figured it out well enough to place a call and then read a voice mail and finally contact him learn where he was, I barely had enough time to get through security and find him. 

But I got there as boarding started.  The flight was fine.  The rental car was fine.  We got to the hospital.  We sat down in front of Dad while he was eating his hospital dinner.  It took him a few minutes to recognize us (uh, oh).  The Dr released Dad to me after making me sign ~100 forms.

I found his neighborhood.  No one ever told me it had a security guard.  And it was a typical security guard.  Dad was right there in the car and I showed him Dad's driver's license.  But I didn't have a sticker on my windshield!  I pointed out that I was bringing him home from the hospital.  It took him a few phone calls to "someone", but he eventually gave us a temporary visitor pass.  For which I gave him my most polite submissive smile and wished him a good day. 

We got Dad into the residence.  And discovered the A/C was broken.  It was 95F inside.  I wilt at 75...  It took an hour to find a repairman who would come out at once.  Telling one that Dad was just home from the hospital and I was from Far North finally worked.  Well my brother works out all day and Dad liked heat, but I was desperate. 

It turned out the A/C was fine but the cheap house wires had failed.  The place was clean, but mechanically a wreck.  But he did get electricity to the A/C and I could breathe again.  I handed the guy my credit card and he said he didn't accept credit cards (too many customers died owing money) and I hadn't brought my checkbook. 

Dad was really reluctant to pay for the repair (it had been repaired a few months earlier for a completely different reason) and he thought he was being cheated.  I had to work hard for that check!

There was no food in the house (well one frozen fish fillet and and orange.  And some gin.  So I drove to the security guard station and asked if the was a local chinese place nearby.  After all that, I was determined I wanted some food *I* liked.  I WAS paying after all.  Moo Goo Gai Pan, Roast Pork with veggies, and fried rice.  At the grocery next to it bought some fruit, chips, and sodas.  That was a Thursday.

The next morning, Dad was complaining about leaving.  My brother was just watching TV.  After lunch I found a big bag of trash bags and told my brother to start filling them with everyday clothes, underwear, socks, shoes, etc.  I went looking for things that Dad would want about Mom, anything valuable, his Gin, and odds and ends that make him feel "at home".  Actually, I already had a lot of his stuff.  When I got my first apartment, they gave me old family furniture and I kept it.  So he recognized some of it and thought he was at home (which home exactly, I'm not sure).

He sometimes walked around outside the first year, but the deck stairs were tricky and I had to be below him in case he lost his balance.  It was a good year for the garden (nice regular rain 2x a week) and he loved seeing the corn beans and tomatoes, etc.  

But I've actually wrote all this to show a couple pictures.  One day of relative lucidity, he told me that he really liked my stir-fries and my bread.  Mom wasn't keen on those.  Veggies had to be soft and bread came from "Wonder".  Dad himself once had a co-worker who opened a chinese restaraunt and told him the secret was to cook veggies until "just crisp".

And he was a bread fanatic.  He wanted bread at every meal.  He would eat bread with spaghetti!.  But he went crazy for mine.  Well, I use beer instead of water, and I add a tblspoon each of garlic powder, onion powder, and 2 of oregano.

So here are a couple of pictures he asked me to take at the time of him holding a loaf of my bread.  He liked it that much...

Miss him...


  1. It's hard being the responsible one... that's sort of been my human's role too. Lots of purrs to you as you remember your dad.

  2. I bet he really enjoyed getting to eat your tasty bread. There's nothing like fresh homemade bread.

  3. Your Dad was lucky to have you as his son. You did a great job getting him to your home and organizing things. That bread does sound delicious :)

  4. Sharing is caring, wonderful to read "your" story. Sometimes it can be a little hard to be the carer of our parents (been there) but it's one of the
    best things we can do for them ...
    you did well.

  5. I obviously didn't know your father but he must have been a good man because he raised a very thoughtful and compassionate son. That picture of him holding the bread he enjoyed so much is precious.

  6. Thank you for sharing your Dad's story with us.

    Now Mom wants BREAD!!!

    The Florida Furkids

  7. Thank you Mark for sharing this story. I think it's challenging to be the responsible child (ask me how I know!), but I'm pleased for you and for your father that you were able to do it.

    Who looked after the cats while you were away?

    Sydney, Australia (who loves driving!)

  8. You sure did right by your Dad and I'm sure he really enjoyed your bread. Hugs from all of us.

  9. I remember how your Dad came to live with you and the daily reports of how he was doing at the time. I know how hard it was for you to adapt and you were always such a trooper.
    Thank you for sharing memories of your Dad today.
    Joan Ryan and Grady Lewis

  10. You did your dad proud, and he was obviously proud of you. I am not surprised he liked your bread, it sounds delicious!

  11. You dad looks like he was a very sweet man, and you're a wonderful son. Thank you for sharing this memory.

  12. Remember that time so well. I miss my dad too. Very much.

  13. Bless you for going through all that. That's love.

  14. There is quite a reward waiting for you somewhere for all your work.

    Next Friday, my Dad will have been gone 62 years. But he went suddenly, from a heart attack. I did my duty with my Mom, 30 years later.

    And I bet The Mews are a comfort to you now, as my felines (and one beagle) are to me.

  15. You are a special person for taking care of your dad. I know you probably don’t think were doing what had to be done, but you’re still special. And we didn’t know you baked bread!

  16. Those are very sweet photos. You are such a good son to go through all that for your Dad. I am glad you got to spend quality time with him at the end.

  17. I have tears in my eyes, now. Your love and concern for your Dad is/was so wonderful. Thanks for showing us your bare heart...and that yummy bread! Yes, no wonder he wanted to show it off!

    Its so good to have these kinds of the most precious memories and preserved in pictures forever.


We're always glad to hear from our friends...