It’s a cold but clear night and I can hear the drumming and singing of the Tsartlip First Nations band down in the valley.
This is my sixth week living on the farm and my third night in my newly renovated bedroom. How cool is this new life?
I ask Sandy about his Friday lunch at church. He says he told a 100 year old woman that only the good die young. He said the same thing to me last week, reassuring me I wouldn’t be dying anytime soon. I laugh and steal three Oreos from his never-ending supply.
I bring him his drink and sandwich; roast beef because he’s looking a little pale and milk because that’s how he rolls.
“I used to drink Scotch Whiskey everyday,”
he tells me for the first time today. I nod, careful not to expose the cookie in my teeth.
“I’d be at the Century Inn everyday at 2:30pm. I worked from six in the morning til 2:30pm. I had the largest masonry contracting business on Vancouver Island.”
He’s proud of his accomplishments, but miffed that they cost him his marriage.
“I’ll tell you what, my wife didn’t understand how I made a living. I couldn’t just go on vacations. I couldn’t leave my business.”
Mmm hhm, I nod my head in agreement.
He’s got a good style about him: his dark-wash Calvin Klein’s and grey sweater; ankle boots are only half zipped.
Sometimes, when Katie is there, I tease him back.
“And that’s why you’re single,”
Katie and I giggle.
Sometimes, when Katie is there, I’ll only steal two cookies.
I come home on Katie’s Mom’s care-giving day and see her and Sandy sitting together in the living room.
“How wonderful! You’re back together!”
“And after all of these years! Side by side watching CNN, I can’t wait to tell Katie! A dream come true!”
“More like a nightmare,”
he snaps back, trying to impress his ex.
I’d do anything to make Joan laugh. That woman is a saint.
I move in two days before Sandy’s 83rd birthday. Two years older than most men in his family who die at 81. The four of us go for dinner. Joan is wearing a dress and is lovely and glowing in every way. She patiently listens to Sandy’s loops and smiles. Afterwards, we drop her at home and as she walks up the stairwell outside of her building, Katie reminds us how cute she is, all dressed up for Dad’s special night.
“She’s still got a fat ass,”
he blurts out without a moment’s hesitation and roars with laughter.
We join in, shaking our heads. Good to know he can break free from his loops! We laugh for blocks. SO inappropriate and SO untrue, yet he’s so quick and SO naughty!
“Welcome to the family,”
says Katie from behind the wheel.
“You know she never could understand how I made a living.”
“Maybe not, but she’s a good good woman.”
Say I, wiping the tears away.