Monday, September 26, 2011

Rebel Without a Cause

Thoughts come my way at the oddest times. Odd thoughts. To be dragged out and consumed at a later date.

My father would have been 99 today. He should have been alive to see it. He took up cigar smoking rather late in life and enjoyed them far too much. He inhaled them. Seriously. The lungs of an ox. He died 15 years ago from heart disease. I'd say caused by the smoking. But there's some that might dispute that. The man would walk a couple of miles a day and go for the long haul on the weekends. Healthy and hearty of appetite. A good grubber as we say in the parlance of my people.

He would find it hard to keep a straight face as two of his children (myself and my brother) would run marathons late in our lives. He thought it a bit ridiculous. Me already a grandmother running my arse off around the city of Toronto. Why wouldn't we walk? How foolish was this?

He became belligerent about his latter day smoking. He would insist that fumes off the tailpipes of buses caused more lung cancer than his puffing away on his Maria Bendettis or whatever they were called.

I wouldn’t let him smoke in my car (or my house) and I would descend to the role of persnickety parent with him:

“No one has smoked in my car, Da, so finish it before you get in.”

“What in God's name would one cigar do to a fumey old car? Are you mad?”

“No, but I will be very soon, get out of the car and finish that thing on the side of the road, or put it out.”

He would roll his eyes at me and there would be great heaving sighs and mutterings thrown my way as he angrily did what I asked. No one likes being stranded in the middle of Pennsylvania. And he was against hitching as you'd never know what kind of axe murderer (or worse, he'd say, and I'd think, what's worse?) you could pick up. I would feel as if I'd caught one of my own teenagers smoking weed as I drummed my fingers on the steering wheel waiting for my oul fellah to do what I told him.

I find I'm getting to that age myself. Where my foolishnesses are ripe for admonition (you're not driving all the way across the country BY YOURSELF? You're not eating SUGAR? Did you go out for your DAILY WALK?). I remember the dear old mother of a friend, post heart attack, ordering banquet burgers loaded with bacon and horrible greasy cheese and glaring at us in defiance as we sucked up our belaboured criticism and let her at it.

It's a teetery old line we walk, us seniors. Stranded halfway between rebellion and toeing the line.

I get it.


  1. I get it too and love how you tell it. No saccharine, just sugar and salt and cigar smoke.

  2. A teetery old line indeed, WWW! A good dose of rebellion keeps our backbones stiff enough so's we don't veer off into ga-ga land.

    Your old Da would be so amazed that people all over the globe are now able to read about him and his cigars from his daughter's wonderful wordsmithery.

  3. what a wonderful old codger was your Da. I would have liked to have met him. thanks for that story WWW.

  4. Your father was just a year younger than mine. Men of their time who saw their needs first. My dad smoked the ciggies for eleven months of the year. He gave up in November and we all suffered from his moods!

    Now, I live over 100 miles from Elly and my siblings, so I do as I want and nobody knows unless I see fit to tell them!

  5. you meanie, I hope somebody repays you!

    The old man died of old age, lucky sod. You have to die of something, and everybody's heart stops eventually.

  6. Why do people think they have a right to tell us oldies what to do? Why shouldn't you drive across the country by yourself or refuse to go for a walk? Enjoy yourself while you still have the chance....

    I would draw the line at some things though. Like people stinking my car out with cigar fumes.

  7. Marcia:
    Don't forget the animal fats!
    I think he'd be bloody upset at my pulling back those lace curtains!
    I have an awful feeling you'd have gotten along with him :-S
    Well, the interwebz and the telephone have a way of yanking that old leash, ha? And I live 3,000k away.
    Ah now, don't say dat!
    At last a good man on my team. Thanks buddy.

  8. So far I'm still willing to accommodate a few people if they are reasonable. I'm not too stuck in my advanced age yet. I'm willing to make changes and have to make them while I'm still flexible enough. I may become a stubborn old woman and not co-operate at all. Like you, I appreciate my independence.

  9. oh i love this post! i live there, too, right on that line. i eat sugar and then gasp at myself. i skip a walk and give myself the evil eye. i worry about my knees.

    i like that painting very much. is it yours?

  10. Ah sure you're still a young thing Nora with your mini skirts and boots and leggings, you'd have to run hard to catch up with me!

    Laurie: Alas not mine but I thought it captured the spirit of the oul fellah quite well!


  11. The recent death of a fellow determined senior is the subject of today's post on my blog. He was quite similar to your dad, methinks :)


  12. Orla:
    Your blog connection isn't a link to your blog, is there some kind of problem?
    I will find your post, thanks!!


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