Thursday, September 30, 2010

MarCalulate, but don't save...

I've told the story that I never remembered to give Mom a napkin with her meals. I would bring breakfast/lunch/dinner, sans the napkin, into her room and place the meal on her tray. She would knock ("a shave and a hair cut..." but almost never got to the "two bits." part) and I would turn around.
"Napkin, please?" She would say with her lips only. Her smile rivaling a Cheshire cat, as if she had just busted me for some great act of silliness.
"Sigh." I would think, and go off to get her nap~a~kiny as Dad called it.

Fast forward a decade plus later. Each time Dad would come for a visit to his grands, while he ate, he would ask for a nap~a~kiny...and I would tear off a paper towel. He would shake his head.

When Dad died, my friend Amy helped me clean out his apartment. I cleaned out the kitchen and took all of his cleaning products and whatever food I could find that was okay for our kids...except the Mallomars, I ate them while I worked. I won't mention the Viagra I found in his medicine box....it still makes me crack up and shiver at the same time! But don't worry, I won't mention it!

Since we were moving into our new home, the cleaning products came in quite handy. But the day I finished the Windex, I cried. When the Pledge was empty, I cried again. Scrubbing bubbles made me just about boo-hoo myself silly.

But that bag of MarCal nap~a~kinies...I hid them. I kept them on the shelf with my mom's and granny's china. There was only one left.

Last night I ran to the store and forgot to get toilet paper and paper towels...

"I think there is one role left. No you don't need to drip dry." I declared to the kids.

And life went on this morning. When I handed John his breakfast, he asked for a paper towel...

"In the same isle as the toilet paper, over in Walgreen's, I think."

John laughed and then I remembered, I had a napkin...just one.

His back was turned and I climbed up Maggie's step stool into the china cabinet and took down the bag of MarCal napkins.

I handed it to him and he wiped his mouth just before he saw the tears in my eyes and the empty bag in my hand. And then he got tears in his too. He knew...

"You shouldn't have given me that! I was fine. Awe, Hon." And we hugged and cried in front of bewildered children.

"Be blessed. That was my dowry." And we laughed again.

I kept the bag. And I ran to Walgreen's and bought nap~a~kinnies to put into my grandmother's nap~a~kinny holder.

My dad's legacy is in my heart and for some reason, this morning, it was okay to let go of a flimsy napkin that can't represent him. He was as flawed a daddy as the world has ever seen, but he always had a hanky in his pocket and a napkin or twelve next to his plate.

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