Sunday, January 5, 2014

Chapter 44: Dear Old Dad

Well, that was quick. I left Connecticut after taking care of my dad for two weeks, on the Sunday before Christmas day.  By the following Sunday morning he had passed away.  It wasn’t a surprise, but it was still something of a shock.  He was 84.  He’d been ailing for much of the year and ill for the past month.  I was with him at his weakest and most vulnerable.  It was a rare opportunity to spend such an intimate time with someone who I had not really been all that close with for much of my life.  

The past week has been filled with all of the details of wrapping up a life; funeral arrangements, sorting out affairs, contacting friends.  

I’m on a flight back from San Diego to Connecticut once again.   This is my sixth such trip in less than ten months.  Getting out of San Diego has been a grind.  A big snow storm has put a crimp in travel across the country.  My flight was originally scheduled for 6:30 am out of San Diego to Philadelphia with a stop in Phoenix and then a commuter flight up to New Haven.  I got to the airport only to wait until my flight was cancelled.  I was told that I would not be able to get to Connecticut until tomorrow.  I then pulled out the “my dad died and I’m trying to get to the funeral” card.  I told the lady I’m sure she hears lots of stories, but if there is anything she could do I’d appreciate it.  Eight hours later and I'm in first class on a direct flight to Philadelphia where I will have to then go to Hartford instead of New Haven.  Oh yeah, and a $200 limo ride down to West Haven at 2:00 am. 

I'm finally about to land in Hartford at about 1:30 am. Johnny "football" Manziel is on my flight. 

Tomorrow will involve dealing with the caterer and wrapping up details for Sunday's funeral. I'm sure my dad would be irked for scheduling his funeral right in the middle of the first round of the NFL playoffs. Go Chargers. 

I'm to give a talk at the service. I'm prepared.  We'll see if I hold up OK but I think I will. 

I rented my son a car. He's driving 8 hours each way.  He will miss practice on Sunday but be back to school in time for the Monday skate. It looks like he's stepped up for his team.  They've lost a few defenseman to injuries and his coaches have tried him out and apparently are pleased. 

I managed to turn my dad's funeral into an opportunity to get to watch my kid play hockey this next week. Tuesday I'll be flying up to Buffalo to catch a game against Fredonia.  Then I'll be there again on Friday to watch them play Buff State.  I'll be heading back to Elmira to watch the game against Geneseo before flying back to San Diego on Sunday. 

My dad was a fairly well known musician and band leader among the jazz crowd of the northeast.  We will be holding a more elaborate musical celebration of life event in Mid-February to honor him and have a good excuse for a party. And yes it will be another chance for me to get back to catch three or four more games. Elmira travels to Manhattenville for a pair of games that same weekend. M'ville normally plays their home games at play land Parkway in Rye, New York but due to damage from last year's hurricane Sandy they currently play in Stamford, CT, about a half hour from our home in West Haven. 

I will be back with an update after the funeral.

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