Though sudden, it didn’t feel traumatic when my father died a few years back. He was in his 80’s and, well, it seemed about right. He went the way he wanted to go, puttering around in the yard. Then gone. I had the honor of giving the eulogy.
I find that I miss him more than I expected. Or, no, that’s not quite it. I find that I miss him more, now, and that’s not what I expected. I figured that the pain, or loss, would lesson over time. I’d get used to it. Dad’s gone. Okay.
And it is okay — but I keep thinking about him, remembering things, expressions he used, his odd habits. The memories have gotten sharper, more frequent. I do what I can to keep them coming. And I cling to them.
Growing up, my mother did not drive. Unusual, yes, but I simply saw her as a rare lady who did not drive a car. The roads were safer, I was sure. So my father always did the grocery shopping. And he did it with flair; he had a sweet tooth and made poor nutritional choices, week after week, year after year. Soda, peanut butter cups, sugary cereals!
Because of that, I can’t wheel past a supermarket display of Entenmann’s breakfast cakes without thinking of him. Dad was a sucker for Entenmann’s. I guess I inherited my father’s sweet tooth.
I submit to you: the raspberry danish . . .
. . . as constructed by the friendly folks at Entenmann’s.
These days, my wife Lisa is all about local produce, organic this, free range that, healthy choices, blah blah blah. I get it. She’s smart, she’s good to us, she’s doing the right thing.
Infrequently, I do the shopping. The way these things work, of course, is that I’ve become my father. I’m dad pushing the cart. I eye that Entenmann’s display and ask myself, WWDD? What Would Dad Do? So I toss that raspberry danish into the cart and roll on, pleased, full of good cheer. It drives Lisa a little crazy, how I undermine her best efforts. The kids don’t seem to mind. Mostly, it’s just a dance we do. When dad goes shopping, everybody knows he’s going to come home with a couple of things mom would never buy. It’s not really about Lisa, or me, or even the kids. It’s about my father, and keeping some things — even the silly stuff that seems to have no meaning at all — alive in our hearts and our kitchens and even our books.
And honestly, the danish is delicious.
CLICK HERE FOR PART 2, WHEN I SHARE HOW I USED THESE MEMORIES IN JIGSAW JONES #28: THE CASE OF THE FOOD FIGHT.