Larry’s dad just died. His father had fallen out of bed and broken his hip. His dad was in his 90s and not going gentle into that good night. Larry and his brother had brought him to Texas two years ago and put him in the best nursing home they could find, but he ran away back to Louisiana and forever after talked about how Larry and his brother had put him in jail. He survived the operation, was walking around within days, but they found blood in his stomach, and a second operation ensued. It was too much, and he slipped away. Larry was fairly serene, saying his dad had just changed addresses and was with Jesus. And that it was time.
I told my brother, Larry said, that I know where Daddy is eating breakfast today, with Momma and Aunt Margie. He’s eating eggs and fried squirrel––he loved fried squirrel––and Aunt Margie’s biscuits. Which led us into a conversation about the food after the funeral. His father’s wife’s Aunt Vera, 91, thank you very much, made a jello salad with an inch of whipped cream across the top, and Larry, who jogs and stays fit, had four helpings.
I’ve been lucky. I’ve known some fine people, Larry told me, beginning to name them. Uncle Clifford, Aunt Margie, Jesse, who was head of operations of the New Orleans dump once upon a time and let Larry play there for days when he was a boy until his mother had a fit and put a stop to it. Then Larry told me about all his father had done for him, put him through college, gone down to Mexico and gotten him out when he was in a serious motorcycle accident in his 20s, rehabilitated him by making him talk every day into a tape recorder and then listen back once a week and see his improvements. Larry stopped and wiped his eyes.
Love. Life. I love them so. Maybe they’re the same.