“…And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” Matthew 24:30 (NLT)
Dear God – How Do You Spell Caucasian?
So, I was nearly ready for work, and just applying the last bit of makeup this morning – you know, the various products that impart a false, but powerful notion that I am maintaining a youthful appearance against all odds. These particular habits and routines are somehow a comfort in a world that often does not feel secure. I have a new job, own a new car, am now a shareholder in my company, and am more in debt than ever, but getting up, reading, showering and applying makeup helps to make me feel “normal” on a daily basis.
Today, that routine was disturbed. At 6:30 a.m., the phone rang. My heart pounded loudly in my ears. Had something happened to my father? Dad is nearly 79 years old and suffers from a variety of ailments, including Parkinson’s disease. He lives in a seniors’ facility in Alabama – about 2,500 miles from Edmonton. As I rushed around trying to locate my suddenly hard to find cordless phone, I began thinking about and planning the arrangements I would have to make if I had to take a sudden trip.
Finally, I found the phone. It was Dad’s number calling me.
“Hello?” I said with some concern.
“Hi, Kath? What time is it there?” He did not sound too bad, but you can never tell.
“Six thirty, Dad.”
“Oh. Well, it’s 7:30 here – did I wake you up?” What in the world was this about, I wondered.
“No, Dad. I was just getting ready to leave for work.”
“Oh well, good. It’s about time.” This is Dad’s way of teasing. “So, how do you spell ‘Caucasian’?”
In a surreal fog of fury, humor and relief, I spelled it out for him two or three times.
“Okay, Kath, thanks. Have a good day at work.”
I hung up the phone and sat on the bed for a couple of minutes, letting my heart relax. Thoughts about another recent Dad incident came to mind. About a week ago, my sister Jackie sent an e-mail out to her siblings wanting to know if any of us were going to visit Dad in the near future. She was in the process of setting up a safety deposit box for him at the bank. One of my sisters replied right away that she was going to visit him at the end of March.
This left my mental radar until I was on the phone with Jackie on Saturday and asked her what that was all about. She said she had just found out Dad has tens of thousands of dollars worth of coins in his room. Another surreal moment. I asked her why he had that many coins, and she said he had told her it was a good investment. But she told him she did not like him having that money in his room. I agreed.
Sometimes, these issues and others, more serious and less serious, are frustrating given the distance we all are from my father. He refuses to move nearer to any of us, wanting to stay in the milder southern United States, rather than deal with the winters in Michigan, which is where both sisters live who have offered him a home. He stubbornly refuses to take his medicine. He drives a dented up large vehicle that he should not be driving – recently, he ran over the mailbox at the home he owns. He often skips meals to save money. He will not sell his home in Alabama, wanting his children to have it as a future vacation home, all the while not understanding that his children prefer a live father to an inanimate building in a place we have rarely visited.
It would be easy to let anger, impatience and frustration govern my feelings when talking with my father, and listening to these situations that seem pathetic and unnecessary. But I know that there will come a day when I will wish the phone would ring at a ridiculously early hour in the morning, and upon answering that call, I would hear something like:
“Kath, how do you spell ‘Caucasian’?”