Friday, June 13, 2008

Sad songs

My brother Jeff and I decided to take our Dad to breakfast today for an early celebration of Father's day. I had warned Jeff to be prepared to answer the infamous question, "What's your name?" So after we got there and Dad clearly indicated he recognized us both, Jeff said to him in classical sibling rivalry fashion: "What's my name?" My Dad replied, "Jeffrey Joe." I gave my bro the death look and spelled to him Y-O-U-S-U-C-K.

We both laughed.

As we headed out the door, my Dad started singing a show tune. One of the caretakers looked at me and said, "He's happy!" Nowadays, you can read my Dad's moods based on whether or not he breaks out in song or asks repeatedly, "How do I get out of here?"

On the way to Le Peep, a nearby breakfast/lunch/whatever place, my Dad continued singing. I tapped my Dad's shoulder and said, "Hey Dad, you know this song..." and then started singing Stardust to him. My Dad nodded yes in his fashion that really means no, but my brother immediately joined in and we sang our sad duet. When it was over, he replied sarcastically to me, "Thanks for planting that song in my head..."

We had a nice breakfast, taking turns cutting our Dad's food and keeping his attention off of other patrons whom he thought he knew. I saw a young black man enter the restaurant and cringed, fearing he would say in his loud voice, "What's that N*** doing here?" I immediately pulled out Father's day cards from my purse to distract him away from the man.

When breakfast was over, we took my Dad back home. He stood in the driveway of the Group Home where he lives and waved goodbye as my brother backed out, looking like a 5 year old bidding his mom and dad farewell on their way to work.

Jeff and I sang a couple other Nat King Cole sad songs on the ride home and he shared a favorite George Michael song with me as well. It's always a little bittersweet visiting my Dad -- kind of like singing sad songs. However, it definitely helps to sing a duet.

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