The Front Porch Go to Mickey Newbury Back Porch
Back Porch


Author:  Doug
E-mail:  dalang@telus.net
Date:  9/20/2003 9:10:32 PM
Subject:  My Dad
Message:  My dad started a baseball league in Moose Jaw
called Parkhill Minor Baseball.
He was its first President, and took part
in the building of five ballparks around town.
He taught me to love the game with a passion.
When we moved west to Victoria he lost
his guitar teacher, so his old Silvertone
sat in its case down in the basement for years.
When I was about nine, I pulled it down,
wiped away the dust, and tried to play it.
He came upon me down there one evening.
I thought he was gonna give me hell,
but he didn't. He showed me a few chords.
The next day when I got home from school,
the guitar was on my bed, all shined up.
Dad had put new strings on it and tuned it.
There was book there, too, of chord diagrams.
He led me upstairs, handed me the guitar
and said, "This is yours now."

Dad has been showing signs of Alzheimers
for the past six months or so.
He lives in Vernon with my mom, a mile or so
from my sister Judith's place.
Vernon is roughly 350 miles from Vancouver.
Yesterday morning after breakfast at my sister's,
dad slumped over. He'd had a stroke.
He's in the hospital now, doing much better.
Yesterday, he was delusional, telling nurses
they better get the hell out of there
because the Germans were going to come
and blow up the hospital. Dad served
in the second World War, and some of that
memory is surfacing. His sense of time
is all shuffled, and last night he told mom
to get that Dougie to bed 'cause he's
up too damn late again!
It's sad, yes, yet you laugh a little, too,
because that keeps the sadness company.

I've been talking with my mom and sister
and they tell me he seemed a lot more
in the here and now today.
He even grabbed a broom and went out
into the courtyard to sweep up.
Always was a busy man, industrious.
Mom had to laugh when she was telling me
because when she went over to him
he leaned on his broom and told her
he's been "casing the joint," in order
to figure out how to get away.

I'd gratefully receive posts or e-mails
of support from my Porch family,
and if anyone cares to trade notes
about elders who had or have Alzheimers
that would be appreciated.
My dad's not in pain, which is good, but
his mind is moving through many times at once
and he's experiencing a range of emotions.
They're looking for a medication
which will steady him some.

My mom is sad, of course.
She's loved him for almost sixty years,
and now his essence is drifting.
It's good my sister and her family are there.
I'm phoning regularly, as is my brother, Gary,
ready to travel up on a moment's notice.

I tend to keep a little private
regarding my family, out of respect, discretion.
It hit me after putting the phone down, though,
the feelings, the sense that the mainland
is breaking into archipelagos now,
that my father is moving a little farther
away from us every day.
This porch has been a gift to me.
And, because you are now a part of my
extended family, dear hearts, I share this.

When I first started playing music for a living,
he and my mom would sometimes surprise me
by driving a couple hundred miles to see me play.

 My Dad by Doug   at 9/20/2003 9:10:32 PM
 Re: My Dad by Cowboy  at 9/20/2003 9:33:18 PM
 Re: My Dad by Mamie  at 9/20/2003 11:09:31 PM
 Re: My Dad by Joe Z at 9/21/2003 8:56:11 AM
 Re: My Dad by Gerry at 9/21/2003 1:31:39 PM
 Re: My Dad by (RandyD)  at 9/23/2003 5:44:27 AM
 Re: My Dad by Doug at 9/23/2003 6:57:04 AM
 Re: My Dad by Joop  at 9/21/2003 12:53:30 AM
 Re: My Dad by Lois  at 9/21/2003 5:50:14 AM
 Re: My Dad by Randy B at 9/21/2003 8:19:50 AM
 Re: My Dad by Lib at 9/21/2003 8:31:54 AM
 Re: My Dad by Dave  at 9/21/2003 8:45:33 AM
 Re: My Dad by Ginny G.  at 9/21/2003 10:22:14 AM
 Re: My Dad by Connie S  at 9/21/2003 10:57:19 AM
 Re: My Dad by Doug at 9/21/2003 12:08:52 PM
 Re: My Dad by Judy W.  at 9/21/2003 12:12:37 PM
 Re: My Dad by Bill Smith  at 9/21/2003 12:11:04 PM
 Re: My Dad by Doug at 9/29/2003 5:43:32 PM