In January 2011, I had a strange conversation with my father.
My husband and I were living in Peru, our home for the last five years. My father, a healthy 86-year-old widower, was living in his home in Florida. He was all alone except for his poodle, Charlie Brown. Still, he got out regularly – errands, church, weekly meetings of the Masons. I wasn’t too worried about him. Years before I had gotten him one of those Life Alert things, and he wore it around his neck. His neighbors looked in on him. Plus we talked several times a week. This was one of those times.
“Dad, I tried calling you earlier,” I said. “The phone just rang and rang. Where were you?”
“Oh, Barbara. It’s all screwed up…” His voice trailed off.
“Dad, where were you?” I persisted.
“I’m right here,” he said, his voice keening.
“Is everything okay?”
“All they gave me is goddamn crackers.”
“Dad, you’re not sounding okay.”
“Just Townhouse crackers. Shut up!” This to the dog, who was yapping in the background.Continue Reading