“C’mon MAK. Let’s go for a ride.”

“Where are you taking her?” My mom was angry at me again for something.

“There’s a record at the music store I want to look at, Helen. C’mon, MAK. Get your coat.”

I put on my ski jacket. It was the early 60s, I was 14, and the jacket was pure — and new — fashion. It was reversible. One side a flowery pattern in mostly orange, the other side — the usual side for me — black because I didn’t like orange.

“Listen, MAK,” my dad said turning the key in the ignition. “Stay away from your mom when she’s been drinking. Some people are funny when they’ve been drinking. Some people are mean. Your mom’s mean. When she’s like that, just get away.”

We backed out of the driveway.

What was he talking about? I was already living in the disconnect a lot of kids of an alcoholic parent live in. But from then on I took my dad’s advice and got out when the fireworks began.

In the wings of our lives was a move from Nebraska back to Colorado, my dad’s soon-to-be-rapid physical decline from Multiple Sclerosis, my family’s disintegration. That night we stood in the neon-lit music store in Bellevue, Nebraska and bought an album, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. Most of my generation knows this one, grew up with this one, but one song was particularly important to my dad.

8 thoughts on “Dad

  1. Oh wow. So much to say, but mostly, thank you for sharing. Especially the song. I never heard that one before. Now I want to go get the album!

  2. What a poignant story you shared with us, Martha. It filled my heart; and when I listened again to a song from an album I still have, my heart overflowed. The lyrics, when listened to in combination with the knowledge you shared with us about your father, seemed so sad and courageous. Your writing left an imprint on me today.

  3. Thank you, Martha, for sharing the beautiful pic and the lovely post.

    When The Girl was much younger, I used to sing her to sleep with “Scarbrough Fair”, “Feelin’ Groovy”, “Bridge Over Troubled Waters”, “Mrs. Robinson”, “The Boxer” especially, and several other Simon & Garfunkel songs in addition to some with which you may be unfamiliar by Whiskeytown/Ryan Adams.

    Many years ago, not long before The Girl was born, when I would spend some of the free time I used to have hanging with my friends Tommy the harmonica player and Corey the guitar player, I would sing ‘songs’ I’d written while they played, sometimes even on stage at open mic nights. One of them of which I was particularly proud and recently told The Girl about when she made a near-connection about the properties of songs, about which I also posted early in my Blogging days as “Old Song, Future Poem?”, spoke to how I view music as a time machine. This post served a similar function for me.

    Thank you again.

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