When I was growing up, every 4th of July, my family would be glued to the television set to hear the Boston Pops and to watch the fireworks burst and boom on our television set. It was a tradition set in our middle-class red brick apartment building in Queens.
We were the last family in the neighborhood to get a color television set. I had already glimpsed the wonder after seeing The Wizard of Oz at my friend’s house and still remember the feeling of awe, not knowing there was color in the movie.
My parents finally bought a color tv during the Olympics after seeing Dorothy Hamill skate like a swan at our dear friend’s house. I “worked” for Lore for many summers in her gourmet chocolate shop, oh, I KNEW my chocolates! She sent me care packages in college, she spoiled me but most of all, she always understood me, my fellow Libra. I miss her every day.
My dad loved to watch soccer, he would yell and scream at the television enthusiastically, you could hear him shout from any room. He also loved watching any type of ceremony: parades, marching bands and all celebrations.
Yesterday, I talked to my best friend and after and we hung up, I reached for the phone to call my dad. I wasn’t feeling sad or morose, it just seemed natural until I remembered that he has been dead for a very long time.
Sometimes, I will watch a show or listen to music that I know my dad would love, it makes me feel like we’re listening to it together.
A memory just popped into my head: the first bad heart attack my dad had, had been on Father’s Day when my son was 6 months old yet he refused to go to the hospital until I was so upset I started crying. My mom and I took him to the Emergency Room. My father’s complexion was pasty and green and I remember he was sweating but he never clutched his heart, he just felt a little unwell.
After blood tests, the young, snippy doctor told him “he was a very, very sick man.” And, he was, he needed quadruple by-pass surgery which back then was definitely out of the ordinary.
My husband and I had a six month old son that I had never been away from but I was the one who stayed so I could help my mom and be near my dad. I hate driving in the city but being with my dad was just too important than my own fears.
Luckily, my father was able to be transferred to the city for the complicated operation and my mom and I waited in the hospital for 7 hours. Saying good luck to my dad right before the operation, was one of the hardest, most gut wrenching things I have ever done and I know he felt the same way. Don’t let anyone tell you NOT to cry, it’s really okay.
It felt like a hammer was breaking my heart in pieces. Thank G-d it was a success and he lived many years after that. It occurred to me today my dad was allowed to go home from the hospital on July 4th, Independence Day. I remember making a sign for him.
Certainly, it was a day to celebrate.