Carnes: Sundays with Dad
They were never on a Tuesday and his name was Griff, not Morrie, but for almost 38 years and just shy of 2,000 Sundays we talked about life, family, kids, business and, of course, the weather, always the friggin’ weather.
Sunday, March 27, 2022, was our last.
When you leave your hometown at 24 and your new hometown is a thousand miles away and it’s 1984 and there is no such thing as the internet but landlines still exist, weekly phone calls were the only instantaneous form of communication available.
So we’ve done it diligently since then.
Up until 2014 the phone was always answered — and I mean every single time — by Mom, who would listen to my weekly ramblings (sort of like you’re reading now) without interruption (save for the intermittent sarcastic remark, must be the genetics) and end with, “Would you like to speak with your father?”
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For almost 30 years I responded with the same eye roll and said, “Sure, yes, of course” and would find myself repeating — word for word, even with the prerequisite “ummms” and “ahs” — every single item of importance and non-relevance I had just said to her.
I was annoyed with the repetitiveness of it all yet could never dream of not doing it for all the right reasons. The simple phone call was a hassle most of the time, yet as routine as checking snow totals each winter morning.
And right now, at this very moment, I miss it more than I ever thought possible.
Well, obviously, it’s because there will never be another.
Sunday phone calls to Mom and Dad, or just Mom, or just Dad, have now ended, for good, in perpetuity.
End of story, literally.
There is no more Mom or Dad to talk to, and it’s a reality each and every one of us have to eventually face.
But I have absolutely no problem sharing my emotional baggage with so many of you here in Happy Valley because, well, so many of you have put yourselves in relatively similar situations and the inevitable outcome will — trust me on this — also be similar.
We leave the nest, we strike out on our own, we succeed, we fail, we get back up, we fall somewhere in between, whatever, we just move on with our lives, and cling to close family as long as we can in hopes that it will always be there, in one form or another, to be our rock, our support, our sounding board for conflict or, in my case, to talk about the friggin’ weather.
Dad loved the snow, and although he never lived outside the state of Texas, was always infatuated with our snow totals. “How much did you get? How much is in the yard on the north side? Did you go skiing this week? What’s the forecast?”
And on and on it went, with him repeating the same wintertime questions and me rolling my eyes with each answer yet knowing how much it meant to him, so I didn’t dare stop providing details. “Six inches at the house and 8 on the mountain!”
And now it’s done, over, kaput, finite, no mas.
But I would not trade one phone call over 38 years for all the presumed and pretend happiness in the world right now, because they were my phone calls, my mom, my dad, and my life.
I can only hope most of you are fortunate enough for such a Sunday ritual, but to be honest, any day of the week will do.
Richard Carnes, of Avon, writes weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.