Yesterday was my father’s birthday. He doesn’t seem like somebody who would have ever been 79, perhaps because he died at 76. Certainly can’t imagine him becoming frail and fragile. Glad we were spared that.

I was visiting my mother, who had an impressive cough, so instead of going out to dinner with her, I wound up in the grocery store a couple of times, picking up soup and such and cough medicine for her. And a few other things, all chocolate, for me.  I used one such grocery store trip as an excuse to salute my father with a big Mr. Goodbar, one of his trademarks.

nov 15 covers 002


Can you tell the package is mostly empty? I did spread the consumption of it over three days, but still a dumb idea.  I could have just as easily bought a huge Hershey Bar with Almonds or scary grocery store eclairs or liverwurst or frozen creamed chipped beef or any number of mostly awful foods I associate with him.   When I mentioned this list to one of my sisters, she chimed in with Entenmann’s waxy, repulsive “chocolate” doughnuts.  How could I forget? Another sister ordered profiteroles out to dinner in his honor. That’s more like it. The guy could go either way–classy or low rent.  A filet mignon at Ruth’s Chris or chili from a can, (which he would say looked like dog food and eagerly slurp up)  Either way, it’s dangerous to use his birthday as an excuse to eat his favorite foods.

As if I could still set him off, something I had a knack for when he was alive, I could eat something he was famous for hating: chinese food. I can still hear him make throwing-up noises at the table those times some of us would bring home take-out, teasing, “Look what the monkey threw up.” I don’t cringe so much at his jokes anymore now that they’re coming at me across the great divide.  Who knew that fake throw-up sounds could have such a sweet, even comforting,  resonance?