– Dad, your zipper.
– What, do you go along looking at men’s flies all day?
– Dirty old lady.
– You’re like me.
He says, cupping imaginary breasts on his chest.
Dad flirts with an 84 year-old woman at a Greek restaurant for lunch.
– An older woman.
He says, two years younger.
There is a sparkle in their eyes.
– It doesn’t cost anything to be nice to people.
He says in the car on the way home.
– Love your neighbour as thyself but leave his wife alone.
Dad got in trouble at church.
– I don’t like the way you look at my wife.
Said Jealous Husband, a man his age.
– I’m a threat?
– Don’t tell your mother. She’ll fall down laughing.
Mum left Fairfield and moved to a senior’s building in Brentwood Bay. We are neighbours. We have breakfast in Saanichton before my shift on Tuesdays. Dad and I go for dinner at her house. She comes to the farm for coffee and polishes our silver and brass.
Dad tells me a story. He can’t remember her name but she remarried her husband after 10 or 20 years.
– Why did you divorce him?
– I thought he was a son of a bitch. Then I found out what a son of a bitch really was.
Referring to her second marriage.
– Your poor mother was married to the perfect husband.
When Mum was in labour with me, Dad dropped her at the hospital entrance and said,
– Don’t wake me up in the middle of the night this time.
Unfortunately, they did not share the same sense of humour.
– Silly bastard. I guess I’m not dead yet.
He says, still reeling from church.
A woman named Ruth got married after several unsuccessful relationships.
– What’s your husband like?
– He’s the dullest man I’ve ever met. I love him.
Dad tells me Mum used to complain he didn’t talk to her.
– So, I woke her up at four in the morning and told her I wanted to talk.
– That put an end to that.
Mum slept over when my room was in the basement. She had a guest come to stay before her new hide-a-bed had arrived. In the middle of the night, she went to the bathroom. Dad was coming out of his room in his long Johns, saw her coming up the stairs and ran back into his room.
– I was scared she was coming to climb into bed with me.
Cows are a lasting point of contention between my parents. Dad thinks the cows were Mum’s effort to tie him down.
Dad told Mum he’d learn to milk in the spring. Come spring, he said,
– I didn’t say which spring.
Mum milked the cows.
– I’m running off with Jealous Husband’s wife on Sunday. I’m in training.
– I wouldn’t make it to the door.
– He must have a guilty conscious.
Looking at the family photos I put in the dining room, Dad points at the ones of Mum when she was younger. One is of her with him and their first cow, Opal.
– Your mother was a good-looking woman, wasn’t she?
– She had a nice ass on her too.