Genetics

I was home alone this evening. The boys were snowboarding and I was left to surf cable while they carved paths more interesting than anything I could find on cable.

I stopped at MTV mid-way through the movie “Jack-Ass.” It’s natural to miss your parents during the holidays. As a teen, I would have been incredulous at the thought of such a movie inducing a memory of my dad. As we advanced in years, our phone conversations became longer. Dad told me stories about riding horses as a boy, bareback through the woods, driving cars without headlights in the dark as a teen, and taking dares to do anything from his brothers and cousins. My father was a direct descendant of the infamous Loomis Gang. His impressive quantity of racing trophies could not have attained by the faint of heart. The man I grew up believing to be conservative shocked me. My father was actually crazy.

My mother had dementia years before Parkinson’s Disease ended her life. Even before I was pregnant with Maya, she was in a wheelchair. The Beach Boys were scheduled to perform in a local outdoor concert. My father told me Mom wanted to go. He asked me to take her, knowing I was probably the only one of their kids who would know how to navigate any form of rock concert. Dad loved my story about escaping the Woodstock Anniversary Concert while the naked crowds burned anything flammable. I had to scale a six foot fence to escape. He trusted me to give Mom one last adventure.

I was the only one pushing a wheel-chair to get closer to the stage. My mom rocked to the beat of songs I never realized she listened to. One of my father’s brothers was at the concert. He stayed with Mom while I visited the beer tent.

Dad had asked me long ago if I had seen “Jack-Ass.” As my mom had dozed, lulled by the novel comfort of dementia, my father had explored with the TV remote, alone. He could hardly breathe through laughter as he told me about the most recent episode. I should have taken him to see the movie. He passed away alone, tending bee-hives in the middle of nowhere without a protective suit, and telling no one where he was going.

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