– Would you like a whisky, Sandy?
Asks Lynn, pouring a glass.
– Two fingers will do.
He says, fingers wide apart.
We sit in front of the kitchen fire on a Saturday night.
– It’s hard to believe I drank a bottle of Scotch every day for 27 years.
– I never smoked a day in my life. My liver is fine and my lungs are shot.
He laughs and shakes his head.
– The Lord has a warped sense of humour.
Drunk for most of my childhood, Dad held his liquor well but his hair gave him away. All two of them would get messy.
– I was a well-fed drunk.
Three big meals a day were his secret to functioning.
– I got hit by lightning once.
– I got hit by a scotch bottle cap once.
He prefers talking to listening.
– I never knew I had marital problems until I let my wife drive.
He says, deaf in the right ear.
– You were never home. No wonder she left you.
Says Auntie Kay, the woman I am named after.
He sits quiet.
– Here’s to whisky, amber, pure and clear, not as sweet as a woman’s lips but a damn sight more sincere.
He toasted at the bar at three o’clock in the afternoon.
Dad started talking to me when I was old enough to drink. In my twenties, he picked me up after my morning shifts at John’s Place and we’d stop to drink with his friends at Red Robin’s before heading home.
He drove. I was too drunk.
– Best thing I ever did was join that church.
– Uncle Mike and I were enjoying some Valentine tea when Ozzie, the minister, dropped by to invite us to the service. After more tea with Ozzie, Mike and I decided to take our families to the church.
I was baptized at St. Stephen’s. Dad sits in the back corner. He sings hymns with loud conviction and nods off for the sermon.
– This is a country church with an Anglican service. We are not good little Anglicans.
– I’m from a Pentecostal background. We rejoice in the Lord!
Some thirty years ago, there were problems with theft at the church. Father Ivan wanted to solve it by locking it during the week. Dad disagreed. He thought the church should be open for anyone that might come seeking peace.
Ivan handed Dad the key and told him if he felt so strongly about it, he could open and lock it every day.
Decades later, Ivan’s wife asked Dad if he was still locking the church. When Dad said yes, she laughed and said Ivan didn’t think he’d last the week.
Dad gave up remembering to lock the church only recently.
– The tragedy about losing your memory, Katie, is that you don’t forget the things you want to. They follow you to the grave.
– Would you like another whisky, Sandy?
– Oh go on.
– The Lord looks after drunks and small children.