Talk To Me
The lucky ones live to see winter.
Yet I’m not sure if I want to. It is where a lack of preparation, or waste of resources tend to catch up to you. Bones ache, body struggles, medications pile up and counteract just so you can almost feel like normal. You lose control of your bladder more often than you’d like to admit, and your memory might be slowly sliding away.
When I go home to visit my parents I see my father. He trudges through the snow of life struggling with the early stages of dementia. When I see him I see a prideful man who won’t admit the weakness that has touched his brain. When I see him I see myself. He tells me all that he remembers even when I have to remind him. He shows me his finished page of Sudoku and I ignore the wrong answers. Our conversations are more about how good he is despite his age, and I don’t contradict because I feel I owe it to him.
I feel I owe it to him because I haven’t been a good son. I never appreciated him. I took him for granted. I didn’t understand what he went through working doubles and triples at the steel mill. How he provided for seven children (including two from my mother’s prior marriage) and came home and took care of the house. He would complain, he would fuss, and we couldn’t communicate. Emotions were out of the question. The conversations fathers and sons should have were never broached. We talked sports. We shared a roof but we never really knew one another.
When the dementia first showed up it was sudden. After receiving radiation treatment for his prostate cancer he became someone else. He became confrontative. His actions were erratic. He would tell me about his relationships he had with women before he met my Mother. He even told her in the form of a boast. We couldn’t control him and we didn’t know what he would do next. So he was placed in a retirement home.
The months he was locked away in there were depressing. I didn’t know how much I appreciated him until he was gone. I made the long drive on the back roads from Coatesville to Pocopson to visit. As soon as I arrived I was confronted with questions of why other people weren’t visiting. I took him out to eat, and for the first time we talked. When I left he broke down and cried. It was the first time I saw him like that. We never talked about emotions but he cried wanting to contact his wife.
He didn’t belong there. He wasn’t the same as before but he didn’t deserve to be locked away. I felt cold when I left him. I felt even colder when I realized only two of the seven siblings were making the trek.
It took time to convince her to get him out of there. My Mother’s will is as strong as the grudges she holds, but finally she forgave him after we got through to her. She brought him home.
But it’s still the winter, and things have changed. He clutches onto his pride and refuses to admit the facts because he is rankled with fear. Fear of going back. Fear that we’ll leave him somewhere to die.
So now he refuses to acknowledge his memory troubles, and his bowel troubles. Most times he refuses to leave the house. When you meet him he’s more likely to tell you about how good he is for his age than admit the truth. And everyone just nods and agrees, because that’s what you do.
I see him, and at moments when we talk sports it’s like he’s the same. But it never lasts. And it’s in those fleeting moments that I’m struck with fear of being left alone
Especially in the winter.
“ Vince, come up with a good character, tell the story, and keep the audience engaged. Themes are for professors with patches on their elbows. ”
Michael Mann to Vince Gilligan
This may be the filthiest thing I have ever seen.
A Hawkguy convention sketch by @Steve_Lieber, colored in @MangaStudio 5.
I drew a sketch of Hawkeye and Pizza Dog at the Stumptown Comics Fest, and used it to play around with the coloring tools in Manga Studio 5. Here’s the result.
The original art might still be available at Periscope Studio’s Etsy store.
Suge Knight when he played for the Los Angeles Rams during the 1987 NFL players’ strike. He played two games.