Friday, April 17, 2009

cinnamon toast

Last night I fixed cinnamon toast after dinner.  Marc had fixed a great dinner but, no dessert.  Not that we have dessert every night, in fact we usually don’t.  But for some reason, last night it seemed called for.  Unfortunately, we had no dessert in the house.  Hence the cinnamon toast.  Cinnamon toast always makes me think of my father.

When I was growing up, we always had dessert.  My dad had to have dessert.  I guess, for him, dinner wasn’t dinner without dessert or maybe he just had a sweet tooth.  On those nights when there was no dessert, he could be found in the kitchen, in his pajamas, making cinnamon toast before bed.  This is one of the few memories I have of him that is warm and cozy.  

It was hard to get my father’s approval.  Even while he was telling you that you could do anything you wanted, you knew he thought you were not living up to your potential, that you could do better, should do better.  I think, now, that some of that was due to the fact that he was bitter about his own choices, was thwarted in his own efforts.  He wanted to be a surgeon but contracted tuberculosis while he was serving in WWII.  He let the doctors convince him that his stamina was seriously impaired and there was no way he could take the stress of being a surgeon, so he became a pathologist and instead of saving lives, he examined dead people.  Of course, he worked as hard as any surgeon.  I guess I’d be bitter too.  

Small comfort to me and my sister and brother though.  I’m sure he must have been proud of us but I don’t think any of us ever got his unreserved approval.  He died of a massive stroke in the middle of the night many years ago.  He left us three siblings letters that he had written 15 or so years previous when he had recovered from his first stroke.  I assume the content of all the letters was basically the same, patting us on the back while finding some fault.  Surely, in the intervening years, he became happy with us, for us, without reservation. 

1 comment:

  1. father is a father, i think all of them are really disciplinarian. i guess we most treasure what they contributed to us when they are gone, my dad died when i was 4 so don't remember much of him.


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