Books and coffee. That’s what Dad said life was coming down to. For him, the work of staying alive had become a struggle.
I have always considered myself privileged to have spent a few hours in the company of Damon Falke's dad. That was back during his Texas Book Seller phase, in Marshall, if I'm remembering it right. That sum' bitch got me to read Ulysses one year because he'd throw Bloomsday soirees in mid-June, which might include participants being called on to present their impressions of the story. I was. And I have kept the promise that I made that evening, so many years in the past, to never read that fucking book again. And while once was enough for me, I'm so grateful for the more senior Mr. Falke to have kicked me down that side road. The younger Falke, Damon, has composed a wonderful scene here, including the yellow dog.
Very nice piece. Except for the yellow dog, I’ve been through similar phases. (Unless "Old Yeller" counts, in which case, count me in with yellow dog.) Phase hoppers are often difficult to relate to. Although I like to think it graces us with a sheen of complexity not often found in those who see the blur of time as a mere linear transit. Each to his/her own. At any rate, "Books and coffee” says a lot without needing to say more. Which, in my book (no pun), is the sign of a worthy writer, not just somebody who writes.
As Keith Richards crooned: “It’s a struggle, yeah yeah…” Let’s hope we’re all making the best of it!
another beauty, damon. your ability to put us into a place with your words shines thru in this tender story about your dad. and your description of aging, the shrinking of worlds, and interests and bodies. a love story, a beautiful one for and of your dad.
As someone who is slowly being struck by the reality of her parents aging, I can relate to the mood of this piece--the hesitancy, the uncertainty, the not quite knowing how to interact or what to say. Because what do you say when someone starts repeating the same stories, starts taking shakier and shakier steps, and starts to seemingly fade from what they were into someone you don't entirely recognize?
It strikes me as one of the cruelties of aging that we don't reach a point of maturity where we can fully get to know our parents as people until there's almost no time left to appreciate them.
This intimate aging is a new country. There always have been old & older people around -- grandparents, family friends, mentors, professors, colleagues -- but to see someone you never thought of that way, unexpectedly cloaked in age, opens us up to a new relationship. The changes in them change us, requiring a shift in our patterns and our views. You capture so well, Damon, the new tender, fragile, vulnerability on both sides of the relationship. Thank you.
What a loving portrait of a fascinating man. His quirks are so endearing & relatable; you sketched out his inner life with specificity & beauty. In other news, I too have read the Martha Gellhorn bio. Bravo!