The Day After Stu's Funeral
It’s been a hectic week.
And now to wake up on Friday morning, the day after my dad’s memorial service, the only thing I can really write about this week is m y father because that’s all that’s on my mind.
There’s been so much that’s been said about my dad but I thought , it won’t hurt to write a little bit more.
Here’re two stories that got left on the cutting room floor, so to speak, when I did my eulogy.
It was one of those nights that my mom and dad went out and left my two older sisters, Ellie (12) and Georgia (11) in charge. They had instructions to make sure the “little ones” got to bed on time - and I was annoyed, as usual, that my sisters thought of me as one of the “little ones”. I was about ten at the time and as far as I was concerned I didn’t take orders from either of them.
Well, on this night I beat Ross handily in a table hockey game and one thing about my brother Ross was he didn’t take losing very well. I soon got into it with Ross and Ellie and Georgia came in to break up the tussle and ended up becoming part of a ring a ding dong dandy Hart kid style. Well, I wasn’t having any of it. I quickly showed them who was boss and soon left them all crying.
I went down to the kitchen and took a seat to watch Hockey Night In Canada. Something told me it was too quiet upstairs. It became apparent to me that they were getting ready for another charge.
I braced myself.
But by the end of the second period, despite the fact that my spidey senses told me things were only just heating up, I couldn’t stop thinking that one of those ice cream bars that my dad kept out in the freezer on the back porch would go down real nice in the third period.
I was only ten or fifteen feet away but it was freezing cold outside and if I wasn’t careful I could find myself getting locked out. It seemed like the whole clan upstairs was pretty riled up - but how long could it take just to grab a Revel ?
I made my big move, slipped out onto the porch and slid over to the freezer in my socks and grabbed an ice-cream bar and turned to go back inside - just in time to see Ellie, Georgia and Ross dead bolt the kitchen door. The girls laughed with glee, while Ross threw a triumphant fist in the air.
There were lots of doors to the house and I sprinted over to the closest one. They scrambled there before me and -- click -- it was locked. Another victory celebration inside!
I ran as fast as I could to the next door ... and the next ... and the next ... until finally there were no more doors to try. To them, it was sweet revenge but what they weren't fully getting is it was 30 below and I was wearing only socks, jeans and a T-shirt.
I looked up at the house, studying all the windows for a way in when I noticed the door up on the top floor balcony, outside my mother's office. I scaled a rickety scaffold and some splitting fascia, teeth chattering with my frozen socks sliding all over the place. It didn't even occur to me how dangerous it was because I was so satisfied at having found a way to outsmart Ellie, Georgia and Ross.
I snuck inside and hid under the desk in my mother's office for about 20 minutes, rubbing my numb feet. My sisters were feeling pretty proud of themselves but, after a while, their laughter turned to concern. They opened the doors and called out to me -- but, of course, I didn't answer. I was plotting my come back!
I did something that makes sense only to a 10-year-old boy: I made a running charge and jumped up onto a huge crystal chandelier, swinging down on Ellie, Georgia and Ross like Tarzan. I left them like a weasel fleeing a hen house, all of them crying and Ellie wagging her finger, "Just you wait until mom and dad get home and we tell them how bad you've been! You're in big trouble, Bret!"
I tried not to sell it. But when I finally did go to bed that night I knew I was in big trouble.
It turned out my parents got back very late and, buried under the blankets, I cringed as I heard my sisters rat me out. I can still hear my mom say: "Stu, what are you going to do?"
I heard my dad's heavy footsteps creak up the stairs. I made believe I was asleep but peeked through squinted eyes. His big silhouette hovered as he pointed his finger at me - but he simply said, "Buster, don't let it happen again."
He turned and walked out. I could hear the girls protesting about why that's all I got, as he shuffled them off to bed.
This was routine for me.
At around the same time, I’m not sure what I did but I know that my dad was plenty mad enough this one time that he chased me up the stairs. My dad was surprisingly fast - when you got him mad enough! As I recall I’m sure he had steam coming out of both ears as his big hands just missed my pant cuff as I raced up to the top of the stairs on the second floor and tore up another flight to the attic - with Stu in hot pursuit!
In the attic there was a huge antique pool table and we raced around ...and around ... and around .... first one way... then the other... But Stu guarded the entrance to the stairway, cutting off my escape! This went on for several minutes until finally he got so flustered ... It started to dawn on him how this might look! I gave him a hang-dog look and waited. Slowly a big grin broke over his face. I saw my opening and darted down two flights, taking the steps five at a time, right out the front door! I hid in the back seat of one of my dad’s old Cadillacs and held my socks with my hands doing my best to keep warm knowing that my dad would be leaving in a few minutes for his regular Saturday night show in Edmonton.
I’ll never forget the look on his face when he came out on the porch, looked around, got into a Caddy that was still alive. He was shaking his head smiling, wondering just where the hell I went! I never heard another thing about it!
For hours on end my dad would tell one amusing story after another - sometimes for so long that my mom would finally intervene and drag him off. My son Blade is calling me and I can’t help but feel history repeating itself ....
See ya next week.