I’m sitting at Paradiso getting ready to spend the afternoon reading, and an Aroma regular is sitting a couple of tables away reading the paper. He’s a slim middle-aged man in glasses – he usually wears jeans and a button-down shirt or sweatshirt and gets a small coffee and (sometimes) a brownie. He reminds me of my dad, and every time I see him I think “I wish my dad could come to Aroma in the evening and have coffee and a brownie and read the paper.”
I have a good relationship with both my parents. I have always been closer to my mom – we talk every couple of days. My dad was somewhat distant when I was younger, and we’ve never been close, but I find myself missing him more than I miss her. Maybe it’s a brown eye thing – my dad, his father, and I are the only brown eyed children in our generations. That’s always been our special bond – the two brown eyes in a family of four green/blue eyes. We’re a lot alike in many ways, and I’ve found this to be increasingly true as I’ve grown up and known him as an adult.
Every time I park on my street (an ongoing frustration), I am grateful for the hours he spent with me driving around our neighborhood, teaching me to parallel park. HOURS. When we were small, he would take us to the grocery store for the once-a-month stock up after he got paid, and he taught us to bag groceries. I think of this and am grateful every time I’m at Meijer and I find myself reorganizing the sacks in my cart. From his example I learned to work hard and to push myself harder than anyone else every could. I listened to NPR in the car with him on the way to high school, and my strange and dry sense of humor is his through and through. When I rode my bike here this afternoon, I wore a raincoat he and Mom made from a kit when he was in med school.
And these are the things I think of when I pour that cup of coffee and cut that brownie, and think, “I wish Pop were here.”