Sunday, June 17, 2007

"so it is said, and so it is done..."--my father

Nearly verbatim:

Them: "Thank you, who is calling?"
Me: "Last One Home, calling for Last One Home, Sr., please"
Them: "One moment, LOH, let me see if I can reach him"..."LOH, I'm very sorry, but LOH Sr. is unavailable at the moment, may I take a message?"

Now, for many years at this point in the call I would try to cajole the person who answered the phone [one of my father's employees] into getting my father on the phone by whatever means necessary. I have advocated outright falsehoods and lies of omission; I have offered bribes, attempted to enter into philosophical negotiations, and even once allowed my great and sincere sadness regarding our relationship to come through over the phone. None of these attempts have ever worked, though the last did reduce the poor young lady who answered my father's phone on that day to tears herself. So I've got that going for me.

For the last few years, I have instead used the Father's Day failed-phone-call much like the Christmas and birthday failed-phone-calls--as information-gathering tools.

Me: "Unfortunately, we both know a message is pointless, but if you have a moment, I would like to ask you a few simple questions, if you don't mind?"
Them [or actually, her]: "If I can be of any small help, LOH,I will be delighted."
Me: "Is he well? Does he have much trouble breathing...is he traveling at all...does he still play any golf...does he see his friends...is he [long pause], still himself?"
Her: "LOH Sr. has oxygen here, but rarely uses it...he keeps an inhaler with him and that seems to get him through any rough patches...he went to [European capital city near his home] recently to see old friends for a few days, and spent a little time in Spain once the weather warmed up...cabin pressurization does bother him a bit, so we have all been doing much more driving than we used to...[long pause] he is still a walking steel trap, one allof us here have fallen into on more than one occasion--yes, he is still himself in mind and spirit". Is there anything else?"
Me: "No, you have been most helpful. Thanks very much... ... ...actually, I do have a message if you don't mind. [long,long pause] Please tell LOH Sr. that [my full name] called, and that I would much rather prefer to address his living anger than his lifeless body...and Happy Father's Day.

My father is a powerful old man, and he can hold a grudge like no one else on the face of the earth. He lives most of the time in Europe, but his house may as well be on Mars. Unfortunately for me, today is just another pain-in-the-ass day at the office.

Happy Father's Day

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

that made me cry. may you bridge the lonely gap.

6:31 PM  
Anonymous promoted hostess said...

You called. That counts for a lot. I hate grudges.

7:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grudges are grudges, but family is family. To put it simply, that sucks.

11:49 PM  
Blogger Ex-restaurant manager said...

Wow. Wow. My heart goes out to you. I was once fairly estranged from my dad. Communication was slightly strained. Distance multiplied the distance. All you can do is make the attempt. If it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen, but don't stop trying. Today, my dad and I are so close, and a hole in my heart is filled. May you one day feel what I have.

5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Blue's. We've been hanging here for almost a month with no posts. Do you usually post in a set way, or time frame. Or is it when you want to, and have another good story? I'm not complaining, you can post when you feel like it. Just curious here. Thanks for what you have already posted, and looking forward to more.
Thanks again. Bob

12:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm eager for more too!

2:33 PM  

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