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Groggy Morning

May 2, 2016

Groggy morning. Working on my own stuff and reading The Consequences of My Body by Maged Zaher, which I’m happy to say I’m enjoying. Finding the time to do things. You can get a lot done from a bed. Bedroom in my parents’ house; this was my first bedroom; though over the years for a long period of time this was my sisters’ room which they shared. My brother and I shared a larger room, which is just the way it was not sexist although it was, but the boys were just allowed more. No if ands or buts about it, boys had more freedom. Of course, the boys had to do more work outside though looking back my sister Cathy also did a lot outside. Work was really relentless and I began to resent it. But all of us did learn to work. How I envied kids who could just watch cartoons on Saturday mornings. My father is a workaholic; he would wake us at seven singing. I wanted to kill him. There could be two feet of snow outside. I often don’t really get cold; I kind of even like it when it’s cold; I think it’s because I worked in the cold and learned that even when you froze numb to your fingertips if you kept working you just thawed out again and were warm and could work for eight hours in the elements. Wood to cut, brush to clear, stables to muck. We had horses yes but we had to clean the Cornwall Methodist Church from top to bottom every Saturday and that paid for the hay and the feed. My father really thinks if you press him that physical work is the real work and a lot of the work that I do like thinking or reading or writing that really isn’t work. My father is a very good letter writer but he has never written many letters. I guess we grew up around a very strict work ethic; there was a Mennonite boy in my brother’s class whose father made him and his siblings keep working in the field when one of their brothers was killed in a tractor accident. “There is nothing we can do about that now,” the father said. They kept working in the field all day with the body of their brother beside them. My siblings and I were on Easy Street if you look at it that way. I think that Lebanon County still remains a stern County. Work is the physical stuff. I had a relative, a distant one, tell me that I read too much. Too much reading made you crazy. Both my parents were readers. One thing I really must thank my parents for, they never ever censored anything that I read. Actually my father liked to read so much the one way I could get him to stop working was to find a book that he enjoyed reading so much that he couldn’t put it down. When I was a teenager, my father read The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich and the Roman Empire, Prescott’s Conquest of Mexico and Peru, War and Peace and Catch 22. My father was a practical joker so I really got him. This was my first bedroom. I had to face some early demons in it. Sometimes there are demons still although I know at this time they are demons in my mind. That of course doesn’t help when they are here though. Either way you got to fight em. The bed you see was my grandparents’, the only bed I think that they ever had so conceivably my father was conceived in it back in 1924. When exactly the bed made it here, I really don’t know. Dad’s home attendant is here right now. She is giving him a bath which my father seems to find much easier to do, a stranger bathing him than one of his children helping to. I think that I have made peace with my father wherever peace has had to be made. He told me, “I am going to miss you when I’m gone,” which might be the most intimate thing he has ever said to me. He did say he liked my sonnets once. We don’t argue much anymore. I think when we used to, Dad often started it. Once we were arguing about politics and I stopped him. When it comes to politics, we pretty much agree about everything. Why were we arguing? We both voted for Obama. This November it will be Clinton. Heck, Dad voted for George McGovern; he and my mother may have been in the only handful of people in Lebanon County to do so. Everybody seems to love Donald Trump in the county right now, but happily not my father. I am hoping Dad makes it at least until Christmas. His only granddaughter is pregnant and due around Thanksgiving. Life really is one day at a time and just wanting to make it to the next. Dad has been having a little trouble breathing this morning. I think it is because he is too heavy. He is a 91-year-old man carrying around 40 more pounds than he needs to. It is something I must watch out for because we have the same sort of bodies and I hate to say it very similar eating habits. Exercise. Foggy and wet outside. Today I might not get any further than the pond. Times change. I think part of Maged Zaher’s book has been gleaned from emails that he had written. Here I am lying in bed dictating into my cellphone what I want to be said. Is talking writing? Well, I am editing it. The phone constantly misspells what I say thinking I have said something else. Honestly if you see something misspelled it probably isn’t me but the phone. And forget saying something in another language. Even when I write in another language, say Spanish, the phone keeps trying to spell it in English. I am not so crazy about texting or writing on the phone; obviously it is easier to talk into a phone than to write into it.

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