Friday, December 30, 2016


With the holidays comes gifts, and some of those gifts are unwanted. As I peruse through Facebook, many are complaining of getting sick, colds, flu, and stomach viruses are all common complaints.

It was 1956, and Mom was busy making her great turkey dinner on a sunny Thanksgiving Day! I got my coffee and breakfast, a light one, after all, there was Mom's Italian sausage stuffing that was better than the turkey itself.

But oddly, something was amiss! Where was Dad? It was late in the morning and he was usually up by then and having his own coffee with a cigarette.

We lived in a small ranch house at the time. My Mother's youngest sister was coming for the holiday, and as usual, the two families would spend the holiday together. But where was Dad?

The table was being set, the turkey roasting away and Mom in her uniform of the day, an apron over her dress, quietly cooked the masterpiece. But where was Dad?

I got the gallon of homemade wine out, and placed it on the table, just like Dad wanted. We placed cloth napkins around the plates, but where was Dad?

Suddenly from out of the bedroom, we could all hear: "Lena!" It was Dad!

Mom went into the bedroom and spoke with Dad. Mom came out and called my aunt. Dad's sister: Angie. Meanwhile, we were called into the bedroom to say our last goodbyes to Dad. He was dying, and it was time to say: "Goodbye."

Dad didn't say much, just looked at us with a dogged face and cough. I was near tears, water was welling up in my eyes, and I couldn't see anything, let alone Dad. Suddenly there was a commotion at the door and my Aunt Angie appeared. She suggested before we buried Dad, to call the doctor. Mom was strangely quiet all this time, like she knew something, but would go along with Dad.

I wondered: "Would God take Dad on Thanksgiving Day? With a turkey and Italian stuffing in the over? My God! The turkey wasn't even cooked through yet!"

The doctor spoke to Mom on the phone, and after a brief conversation with Aunt Angie, my aunt went: "Ooh Fah! Tony, all you have is the flu!"

We all laughed at the sight of us all standing over Dad, wringing hands and all.

For years after that incident, every time Dad had a sniffle and complained, Mom would say: "What babies, you men are! Try having a baby. Get sick and the whole world has to stop!

Since that day, when I get sick, I go to my bedroom and close the door, I love my mother, but even at this late stage in life, I don't want her haunting me!

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