I Remember Papa

When I was a kid, a father was like the light in a refrigerator. Every house had one, but nobody knew what either of them did once the door was shut.

My dad left the house every morning and always seemed glad to see everyone at night.

He opened the jar of pickles when nobody else could.

He was the only one in the house who wasn't afraid to go to the basement by himself.

He cut himself shaving, but no one kissed it or got excited about it.

It was understood whenever it rained, he got the car and brought it around to the door.

When anyone was sick, he got the prescription filled.

He set mousetraps, cut back the roses so the thorns wouldn't clip you when you came to the front door.

When I got a bike, he ran alongside me for at least a thousand miles until I got the hang of it.

I was afraid of everyone else's father, but not my own. Once I made him tea. It was only sugar water, but he sat on a small chair and said it was delicious.

Whenever I played house, the mother doll had a lot to do. I never knew what to do with the daddy doll, so I had him say, "I'm going off to work now," and threw him under the bed.

When I was nine years old, my father didn't get up one morning and go to work.

He went to the hospital and died the next day.

I went to my room and felt under my bed for the daddy doll. When I found him, I dusted him off and put him on my bed.

He never did anything - I didn't know his leaving would hurt so much. I still don't know why.

© Erma Bombeck

 

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