Thursday, September 14, 2006
Tincup Filled With Cold Chowder
Shortly after I was born, and with my mom suffering from sundry complications I caused by my birth (read severe, uncontrollable depression here), Dad started taking off for the mountains to go fishing. Apparently, she was still too weak to kill him.
All my life I’ve known that there was a time every year during the autumn in which Dad disappeared for a week (or two) to go fishing on some hallowed grounds (hallowed waters?) in the very remote regions of America’s Icebox, a place so remote that you drove north (and west) from Denver until the paved roads ended and then you jumped on a freight train for another sixty miles before you jumped off at a mile marker, not a station, usually at an hour occuring before sunrise.
Like Gilligan, I envisioned my father with no phone, no light, no motor car; not a single lux-ur-yee. Then, on his return, he appeared as though he had just won an “I’m uglier than you” fight with Grizzly Adams. He’d walk up, expecting to hug me, with his face looking like it had been dunked in glue and then smacked repeatedly with a dead skunk.
Thinking back upon it, I doubt that Adam could have had the same relaxed demeanor and gleam about him after he got kicked out of paradise that Dad always had when he came home. His experiences in heaven he took to the grave with him, probably because he’d learned by then that the younger generation couldn’t understand the joys associated with crapping in the woods and not bathing for a week at a time. He would have been right, of course.
Dad went to this isolated island lake every year with his work buddies commonly referred to as “The Crew”. The Crew generation apparently had no problems with any of the vagueries of life in the wild, nor did they see anything wrong with “leech removal” as an expected après-bain experience. They drank and fished and played cards… not always in that order. From all indications, the only time that everything was finally all right with the world was that period of time when nobody could contact them and tell them to knock it off, enough is enough for Christ’s sake.
Okay, fast-forward about fifty years or so. Many (if not all) of The Crew no longer make the trip because of various disabilities including, but not limited to, being dead. But even twenty years ago, Mom was hesitant to let him go. I think she feared him dieing while in heaven and thus possibly escaping the judgment he so righteously deserved for abandoning her all these years.
As fate would have it, both of them went to their reward while in the company of civilized society. I’ve always thought this would have made Mother smile.