Nice day, Sunday. We cleaned house. Remember Lady Macbeth saying “Who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him,” just after slicing the king up as he slept? That’s how we felt yesterday when we cleaned out the cabinets where we store liquor. Who knew the Marottas could open a saloon? Most stunning was the realization that we had five entire bottles of Creme De Menthe.
My sister likes to have a stinger after dinner when she visits us from Florida every three or four years and stingers are made of brandy and this creme de cremey stuff and I guess she brings a bottle every time thinking ‘Surely they’ve have finished that bottle from 2002.’ But it seems we never finished that bottle or any bottle. To me the stuff is kind of eh. I mean, I’ll just as soon have a shot of Scope.
It was Father’s Day of course so I asked David to wear his Hop on Pop T-shirt in part so people could see I didn’t make that story up about how he’s too highly evolved to brag in his class reunion book and how he’s so simple in his needs and hangs on to his clothes forever. That story I told last week and it’s right here. And that piece, which was once a column that I only much later turned into a chapter in my second book? I wrote that piece in the summer of ’96, almost 20 while years ago and still the T-shirt gets worn. He also so worked in the yard for many hours so here’s a picture showing him taking a break, with our middle child Annie beside him and her giant dog’s tiny dog toy in hand. (They weren’t acting as extras from the prison scenes in a local production of Les Miserables. It was the sun painting those stripes on them from the deck beneath which they sit.)
Then later, the rest of our gene pool came over and there was Chinese takeout and a little FIFA watching and a long fun game of whiffleball out back. It was all very nice.
Later, after they all had left, I opened Facebook, and saw that everyone was putting up pictures of their fathers but I never knew mine, so posted nothing. And I guess I write this now by way of focusing on what I have instead of what I ever lacked.
Anyway here’s the man now, taken when my sister Nan was a baby and he was still around.
One time, a minister I knew and respected told me he saw sorrowful-looking older man bending over me in his pastoral office where we sat talking. “Was there an older man in your life who might need your forgiveness?” my friend asked me. There was I supposed and it would have been our dad.
But who doesn’t need forgiveness, even now, even decades after the harm they might have caused? I think most of us inwardly punish and hold ourselves responsible for the pain we have caused in this life. I think we all know the ways we have failed others, and I think we are all sorry.
Anyway here’s to you Francis John “Hap” Sheehy of Wilmington Delaware. I hope that you’re resting in peace, wherever you may lie buried. And I’m sorry that you never had a Hop on Pop T-shirt yourself, or knew the four children who would have called you Gramps.