That title is actually from Pop Pop. He couldn't speak in his bed and he would mouth the word two and do the signal for two and that meant "I will have two beers and we'll go fishing..."
Well, two years. How quickly life has passed. It seems like a blur. Today is definitely not a day of celebration. I hope that at some point the memory of this day is replaced with the memory of something so much better or that I just outright forget what happened on this day. It almost seems like I’ve been punked in the worst way possible. It’s sad to see others lose parents. It’s sad to see them struggle so much with this loss. Even perfect strangers I have come across or friends from the past who just write me and say, “I really miss my mom today…” And from that I will say, that’s completely normal. It’s still hard to explain to people that have their mother around. For some it was the father that was the rock of their family and they lose him; as a friend’s wife and a guy I went to HS with did this week. I have no words. I was happy to reat that his dad, a long time Folcroft resident, former USPS employee, family beach bum for 25 years, and was a Vietnam vet with a Purple Hearth! A friggin Purple Heart. I was sad I never really knew him and his son, my friend from Delcroft, never really talked about his Dad being in the war or being a god damn hero! I was both happy and elated that he got to experience just knowing that. You never really know a person’s past. I would’ve thought Mike would’ve brought the purple heart in for show-n-tell, but I bet his dad was humble and not about talking about his time in the war. Mike is the same way. Humble, laid back, and a good guy.
Happy and fun times have a bit of a haze over them. It’s obvious and palpable. Yesterday I happen to be kind of involved in something that brought out a side of me, well, a side of me from you. I was riding my bike down West River Drive. I had my head down and then heard a loud bang and look up and this guy is laying on the road, bikes all tangled up, a younger 20 something girl standing there. The guy sits up and immediately blood is pouring down from the back of his head. It was like a movie. He was disoriented and just a mess. I didn’t really know what to say or do, but just told him to get off the road and try to get him over to a safer area. I felt like this was some person that wasn’t me. Looking out for these people after this accident. Things got a little weird as he was bleeding and then blaming the girl for her maneuver. He didn’t seem to take any responsibility for going mach 3 on a road with a lot of novice bikers and he wasn’t wearing a helmet. I didn’t want to leave the girl cause I felt as soon as I left he was going to erupt on her. She was already shaking and starting to cry. I picked her bike up and just told her to calm down. What I believe was more his fault than hers, seemed to impact her just as much. We had called 911 originally and he said “I don’t have any money for that…” And then a physician rode by and said he needs to get to a hospital for stitches so we called again and they walked up the hill. The guy never really let it go after she said sorry for the 100th time. I told her not to sweat it cause accidents happen on that road every day. She actually was the one wearing the helmet, but he was not. I came away from the incident thinking of you. Thinking of how many times we probably got hurt. Those times I messed my hands and arms up with tools or cutting something. I remembered that to care is to be human. To be empathetic to a situation (something that I kind of lost over the years, but still have) is the right thing to do. There is a level of moral support you can provide in the near term that can go a long way. I rode the rest of my route south to the Banks. I got down there and took a deep breath. I felt good. Knowing how helpful and empathetic you always were.
I remember the time I split my elbow open trying to get into the backdoor of Pop Pop’s house at 1339 Edgehill. It was dark in that alley and all those damn houses looked the same. For some reason I had this idea that the door on the back of the house was black with four cutouts for windows. I don’t know why that sits in the back of my mind. Maybe I will ask Kathy if at one time the back door was like that before Pop Pop installed that cell like door with the one little window. Haha. I was one house over and couldn’t push the door open and ended up smashing the glass with my elbow. Neighbors must’ve called the cops and they came and picked me up and took me to get stitched up. I will never forget those cops being in the ER, the nurse had given me some type of sedative that kicked in quick. They stitch me up and I go and lift my arm up to look at it and in essence flex my elbow and pop all the stitches out. I will never forget the faces on all the cops kind of trying to say with their faces, “Nooooooooooooo” and they all look away and the stitches pop out and blood everywhere. They had to do it again, the sedative kicked in for good and I was out like a light. The next morning you took a cab to Fitz. Ah. Saying Fitz makes me feel good. I know you weren’t a big fan. You came into the ER and they put me on a wheelchair, but I am so loopy I am trying to race around with this thing and just zonked out. We got in the cab and I think we either went to Pop Pop’s or 988. I can’t remember. The funny part of that story is that when I realized the house I “broke” into, I never saw the person who lived there, never saw him once, never saw a door or window ever open. I sent them a check for $100.00 to get the window fixed. His door was an old, wooden door and I knew the windowframe would need to be replaced. You know what he did? He sent the check back and said the following, “I appreciate you sending me the money to fix that old door, but that door should’ve been replaced a long time ago. You take the money and enjoy a meal with your grandpop…” No name. Just the house address. And he legit sent it even though he lived one house over. Something about that always stuck with me. $100.00 was a lot to me back then, but that moment of a reversal of fortune has never been forgotten on me. That was about 20 years ago. I wonder whatever happened to him. The more the time passes since you left us, the more I realize this is the one shot and while I can blow smoke about all that “live life to the fullest”, there are times when it is okay to just be quiet, look inside yourself, have that cry in the car, that laugh after the cry, or that 40-yard stare into a time were you were the happiest or enjoying the best of times.
We definitely need your good vibes and wishful thinking. I miss all those times you would be there to encourage me. I legit said this morning, “F it Pat…let’s go get them…” I sometimes now take more risks because I am like, I am going to survive and wake up tomorrow and if somehow, I am snuffed out while I am sleeping and that’s it, well, that’s it. I have no control. I think about that sometimes. How sad people must be knowing that their time is coming to an end. That is scary and depressing.
You are so very much missed. It really is always the little things. Driving down around in Seaville Shores was both tough and happy. I stopped at that light around CVS and just shook my head. How nothing had changed. How simple life is down there. How much I know you truly loved it and wanted it for so long. I am glad you got those annual stays on Asbury and on 12 Harbor. I wish they could’ve been longer and just overall less stressful; I will never know what the hell you and Pop Pop were thinking when you were driving up there. Or you sleeping on the floor at Asbury. You deserved a lot more than the floor, but I know you made the best of any situation. I laugh cause we legit were sleeping on 2ft above the floor at the Bitty. I will never forget that as long as I live. You’re at the beach…everything else can be worked out. I am so very grateful that while things didn’t workout in one of my relationships that one summer, I got to spend time with you at the Bitty. It was just so calm and peaceful to walk around that area. I don’t want to sit and count that as the last time I really spent down the beach with you cause there were actually many times after that. The summer of 2018 is kind of a wash. I like to wash the worst moment of my life from that year away. They seem to be much better if forgotten rather than remembered. I think that’s how it goes sometimes. You will never get forward looking backward.
I never said goodbye to you Mom. I think that is because I know that you are always with me. You gave me life 43 years ago and you continue to keep my heart pumping with life. It may not always be the best of times, but I know, there are still many times to be had.