AN EXTRA FRY?
“Mom, can I have a French fry?”
“No, we’ll be home in a minute. The two in the backseat will scream like banshees if they see you eating a fry.”
“Well, Pop pop always gets an extra fry so we can eat them on the way home.”
“Yep, every time we go to Chic Filet, we get an extra fry.”
“An extra fry? Who is this Pop pop?”
Pop pop is physically my father. His hair perfectly cut and combed, his hands tickling to the point of loosing all bodily control, his arms that wrap in embrace.
But this, an extra fry to eat on the way home?
My older brother would join me in saying this NEVER happened as kids. Very seldom, we were lucky enough to drive through for the deliciously sodium filled burgers, nuggets and fries. Once the bag entered the car it was to be opened only once! Speedily, shuffled through while still sitting at the pickup window to be sure no one screwed up the order. Sealed until it hit the dinner table. An extra fry?
There are other questions I have.
When did his love of Chucky Cheese begin? How did he become such a great Hide and Seek player? Colors… the game – I spy with my little eye something….BLUE. How does he find real joy in it? Belly laughs, eyes wondering the car, room, space, getting every sourpuss in the vicinity to join in. How is it so easy for him to grab Eliza from my rushing world and move along beside her at her own pace? How does he know where all the parks are?
Who is this Pop pop?
I had a wonderful childhood, usually getting what I begged for. (Spoiled my brother would lovingly say). Yet, it is tough to match the character of this new Pop pop with the father I was familiar with growing up. As I see my children howling at his silliness, playing made up games and bringing back oldy but goodies, I am tempted to point out this is a far reach from the Dad I knew. But actually reminiscing, and squinting to see the details of the past, it may not be that far at all… Perhaps his keen eye for parks developed much earlier than I suspect. Sundays were a day we spent together as a family, packing a football and snacks ending up at a new destination.
Family celebrations are memories full of silly games like Pillars? Simon Says, 20 questions. I remember at some point making a human pyramid in my aunt’s basement. Full blown costume parties, surprise parties, dancing and always laughing. Never was I left stranded after dance class or the mall or a friend’s house. **My father’s car was close by with a patient man as the driver not expecting a thank you…which is good because I doubt he ever got one!
**Of course he was usually parked about a half a block away cackling at my reaction to feeling as though I was stranded.
Pop pop – photograph by Eliza Blake