Thoughts of the Old Man VI

Dad’s first (and we’re led to believe only) heart attack occurred in 1985, a mere week or two before he was to go on vacation, then retire. He’d given up smoking the pipe for Lent some 10 years earlier but continued his long evening walks (not to mention that he walked back and forth for work twice daily); however, his was a sedentary office job otherwise. Moreover, stress is what likely contributed most to his heart problems: I think all dictionaries in the world should have a picture of my father next to the definition for “worry wart.”

He worried, but in silence — kept it all in …except on very rare occasions. One such occasion was in the months leading to his retirement. His employer decided to take advantage of his departure to consolidate two positions, and forced him to learn the other position so that he could train his replacement. That’s when he’s reported to have told a supervisor, “You’re bent on disgusting people right to the end, aren’t you!”

Similarly, my father didn’t swear. You know how most people have at least one favorite curse word; I think the nastiest curse word that ever passed his lips was “maudit” (damned). That’s except the night the stucco in the vestibule at home came crashing from the ceiling to the floor…

My mother had gone visit her sister in Drummondville, and my father and I were watching TV in the den that early Saturday evening. Suddenly, a long crashing sound reverberated throughout the house, and we were convinced a truck was being driven into the house. Still stiff from sitting on the couch, my father bounced up and began walking quickly towards the source of the sound, and that’s the only time I actually recall him saying, “Jeeeezzzus Christ!”

In English.