Guess what month it is?
It’s Move Dad Month.
For the second time in six months, we are packing up Dad, his soap on a rope and his huaraches to move to yet another location. This man is flying further into independence, to a place where he will have like-minded friends with whom he can squabble, tell tall tales, play pinochle, and share can-you-top this-war-story stories. In other words, it will be his own little corner of Wesley Nirvana.
Well, one may assume that since we recently purged his mini-manse of tchotchkes, this move would be a piece of Benefiber. Not so. Remember the children’s series “Barney & Friends?” Barney had a Barney Bag and while it looked small and compact, Barney could pull everything from an umbrella to a couch out of that bag. This house is my dad’s Barney Bag.
We begin again. I started with the two broken VCR units and a box of 43 broken tapes. All opera. I didn’t know this many operas existed in the free world. But there they were, hidden amongst a stack of vinyl albums and expired VO-5 cream. When he saw me piling them into green garbage bags, the color left his face.
“Dad,” I assured him, “in this new world, you can buy DVDs of these operas. You don’t need two broken VCR players!”
“Well, donate them! Someone will want them!”
“Dad, no one is going to buy your broken VCR players at the Salvation Army. Everyone has priorities, and I promise you, a broken VCR player won’t make anyone’s Christmas list.”
This went on for days. He really dug in his heels over the tank vacuum cleaner, its heft and dimension the same as a small submarine. My sister used it to vacuum when she visited and said, “Forget bombing the enemies. Just drop Dad’s Electrolux on them. Same message, more damage.” No wonder women smoked a pack and a half a day in the 1960s, they had to ease the vacuuming agony. I get it.
Also at the heart of an AARP tug-of-war: three humidifiers, one TV with a perpetual black line going through it, 27 pillow cases and a nude painting by Renoir we were always told was “art” but now I’m really questioning.
The thing he’s accumulated most throughout the years (besides copious amounts of matchbooks) are glasses. Glasses gave birth to glasses. If I place these glasses side by side, they would lead a path from his house all the way to Camden. So. Many. Glasses. Some stolen, some gifts, all useless. Who needs more than six glasses, really, unless you’re the Von Trapps?
He couldn’t understand the theory of FREE.
“The Fisher Hi-Fi! When we bought that in 1967 it was a classic! It’s worth a fortune!”
“Dad! I should pay them for taking it away!”
Him, under his breath: “I’m losing thousands! Thousands!”
Me, under my breath: “Well, as I’m standing here, I’m losing thousands of brain cells, so …”
Well, when he reads this he will know that I threw away more things when he was asleep than he will ever remember. He will get mad at me. He will insist that someone who has nothing would love the hand mixer with the electrical cord wrapped in Scotch tape. It’s apparently worth a fortune.
This will be my father’s last home. It will be functional and homey and peaceful. And do you know why? Because that @$!%&*% Electrolux is in a landfill in Hanover.
He will be so happy when he lands. Finally happy. Finally home.
Maria Jiunta Heck of West Pittston is a mother of three and a business owner who lives to dissect the minutiae of life. Send Maria an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.