Sunday, April 19, 2015

God Bless The Child That's Got His Own

Today is Allen Raymond day.  Best father ever, one man's opinion.  I actively miss the old bird on a regular basis and it's been eight years on the button.

That's why it's Allen Raymond day?
Yes it is.

I think the best portraits always have a hand in them.

By that do you mean the artist's hand at work?
No.  I mean a fucking hand.  Like the one holding his glasses.
The artist's hand is a condition of the portrait's existence.  They don't just appear out of thin air.
No.  I suppose they don't.

Anyway, I remember getting the call in the middle of the night.  The phone rang and, given the situation, I knew who was going to be on the other end of the line.  I woke up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across my head, put some clothes on and drove the ten minutes to the nursing home.  They'd laid him out in a neat bed, sheets smooth, head on a pillow.  I remember putting my hand on his chest and how dense it felt, what with no breathing going on.  One dim light in the room, I sat in the chair next to his bed and waited for the undertakers, unless that's a word like stewardess, to come and take him away, reading on and off one of the books I found at his bedside (although I can't for the life of me remember what it was).  All things considered, it was a pretty nice hour or so.

I have no complaints, other than I wish he was still around.  I spent the last six months of Dad's life in close proximity to him (him in his nursing home and me in his healthy-geezer's condo, surrounded by 70-year-old women who were constantly dropping off food).  I visited three times a day, and when I wasn't visiting I painted a boffo portrait of Robert E. Lee.   In the evenings we'd watch television and chat.  His favorite show was that reality show about young women trying to make the Dallas Cowboys cheerleading squad.  Go figure.  When he was ready to go, he went.  One of the best six months of my life, oddly enough.

Adios Campagnolo.

Why do you always say that?  Don't you mean compañero?
I've always been partial to Bianchi bicycles with Campagnolo running gear.  So I like to substitute.
That being one of the self-absorbed linguistic flourishes that makes your blogs what they are?
Yes.  That and the ongoing joke about confusing homage and fromage.
I love that one.
Me too.  The urge to title this post "Giving Dad the cheese" was almost overpowering.

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