It’s Father’s Day and a special time for my husband. We’re going for a new walk and maybe I’ll take the camera because the weather is crystal clear. We ate a special breakfast with corn beef, hash brown potatoes and eggs; there was cheese on everything! It’s especially exciting because neither of us expected to be well enough to do this.

I can walk finally, after my spider bite. IMG_0381
Most spider bites in New York are Yellow Sac Spiders. They have a similar venom to the brown recluse, only not as potent. My leg was swollen, and I slept for a couple of days and tried not to move. I imagined it would take a long time to get better, but here I am, one week later and ready for a hike.

My husband broke his collarbone when he hit a piece of rebar on the road.  I suspect he broke a few ribs also.  He’s sleeping in a chair because lying down is too painful.  It’s been two weeks and he’s making great progress.  I’m looking forward to the day.

I guess I should think about my father today.  I do feel like he helped me through a tough time and he was proud of me.  It was not the kind of relationship I would wish on anyone. I didn’t see him for years, until I was 21, and moved to the area to be with my sister.  He picked up my toddler by the feet and began spanking him, upside down because he pulled away when I said it was time to leave (it was 9pm, late for a baby).  He wasn’t angry, he was trying to explain how to intimidate people.

You didn’t ask questions.  He asked the questions, to make sure you were listening and could correctly repeat everything he had just said, (well, at least for the last 3 minutes, but the lectures went on for hours). He liked to talk about science or music. My stepmother thought he was an interesting person. He became violent if he lost a card game (especially to a child) and always picked on the smallest person in the room. Just bruised never broken bones. He was not as hard on me, but he made me watch, which made my stepmother angry. I didn’t bring my son to see him unless there were a lot of people around. Whenever I quit speaking to him my stepmother said I should visit.  She gave me food, which made him angry. I’m glad I didn’t live there.

My son began saying, “I hate Grandpa and Grandpa hates me.”

I told my father this and he asked to speak to him.  My son repeated, “I hate you and you hate me.”

My father said, “No I don’t,”  and he read him a story.  Then he said, “I love you!”

“Oh!” My son was surprised but happy and they were good.

He tutored me for school.  He told me I was beautiful. He was the only person who ever made that effort.  Even though he thought a woman’s place was in the home, he was proud when I got a good job and moved away.  He wanted me to move away from him and have a life.  Then he died and said, “This is not a big deal, my children are grown.”  What a strange thing for a man who never paid child support to say.  Our relationship was stoic.  He was surprised his children came when he was dying of cancer. My sister asked him to sign a life insurance form, -that was disappointing for both of them. I bought him a chemistry set and have inherited two microscopes.  I also inherited a print of a bad little boy sitting in the corner with his dog; it was his favorite picture. He didn’t know what he had done wrong.

When he died I dreamed  I was on a train.  In the caboose, there were angels trying to save my father.  They weren’t sure if they could but they would try.  At his funeral, my stepmother rode in a red van.  My husband pointed and said, “Look there’s the caboose.”

He was a damaged person, but that didn’t stop him from making a difference.  Some people get sane parents, but most people get some form of damaged.  Maybe their parents are criminals or see things that aren’t there or just underestimated the commitment required to raise a child.  Life is precarious and the human brain is malleable.  It helps me to accept people for who they are and appreciate the ideals they wish they could achieve.  I read a lot of books about child care.  I wanted to be the best.

I think my father had psychotic breaks.  They were not premeditated and he hated himself for it.  He had so many reasons to be confused, he was a broken child.  I hope we find ways to heal wounded children.