So here we are. It’s been 91 days since my dad died. 91 extraordinarily painful days.
But that isn’t the whole story. In the last 91 days, I made a friend who is my inspiration to make the 120 mile round trip to class twice a week, especially when it’s raining. I took on 5 new students, each of whom brings me joy in a way I couldn’t have anticipated. I met A and the affection I feel for him makes me unconscionably happy.
And so I’ve struggled. How can these be simultaneously the best and worst days of my life?
Then tonight I was sitting in choir practice next to my dad’s best friend. Around us, talk had turned to the Christmas Eve church service and the role of the bell choir, of which I am a member. Mike (the friend) leaned over to me and this conversation happened:
Mike: Make sure you have your clappers.
Me: My copper clappers?
Mike: Where do you keep them?
Me: In the closet.
Mike: Are they clean?
Me: Cleaning woman Clara cleans my copper clappers.
Now, if you were/are a fan of Johnny Carson, you might get the reference. If not, please to enjoy:
I was born 20 years after this sketch aired, but I’ve watched it roughly 7,927,162 times. My dad loved this clip. He loved that Carson couldn’t keep a straight face, but when Jack Webb almost breaks at the end, it was his undoing. He would chuckle until he’d erupt into an enormous belly laugh that left him shaking, tears rolling down his face and his mouth gaped wide, gasping for breath.
I got my sense of humor from my dad and I’m exceedingly grateful that I did. He also gave me my musical talent, my attention span, and my tendency to be a bit of a dreamer. He was sensitive and emotional and creative, all traits he passed on to his little girl. I also look more like him than I ever realized.
My dad wasn’t a perfect man, but he wasn’t a villain either. He’s gone now, but I carry parts of him with me.
I’ll tell you this though, next time I see him, I’ll clobber him.