With the bounty of fresh summer fruits and vegetables overflowing our grocery aisles, I must first express gratitude. Having recently celebrated our 148th Canada Day, I might suggest this is a freedom many born here – as opposed to those who arrived from less-fortunate distant lands – could take for granted. Still, mine is not meant to be a political diatribe!
Rather, I’m thinking about my Dad’s chosen eating habits in the midst of such abundance. For sure, they became even more entrenched when I became more actively involved in his “care and feeding” particularly as my mother declined and passed away.
Here are three things I noticed.
This is My Precise Food Order!
This was my father’s bi-weekly “menu”: 12 cases of Diet Pepsi; sausages and chicken legs (plus spare ribs if they had them) from the BBQ counter (as many as could be dished up, even if his self-absorption deprived others from purchasing any meat that day); large take-out containers of carrots and mini-potatoes from the same service area; one plastic bottle of ketchup and three boxes of mega-sized Honey Nut Cheerios cereal (ate them dry). Oh, my goodness.
I “Need” to be Man About Town
In a sense, he viewed the grocery store staff at the hot counter like his personal chefs. For me, it was frankly embarrassing to witness mounting numbers of customers barely clamp down on their understandable impatience while he obliviously held court with his “ladies”. The center of attention had always been Bill’s preferred stance. Never more so than now! People could simply wait until he was done, in his narcissistic mind.
Have You Heard My Story About?
In the name of “service”, employees and customers alike became trapped listeners – practically coerced into hearing his World War II truck-driving stories about 20,764 (give or take – smile) times between fall 2009 and early summer 2012. Brother! There I am, desperately attempting to release everyone from his iron grip. It took everything I had to eventually shepherd him down other aisles.
Do You “Get” It?
By the way, are you surprised I so easily remember what we bought three years ago? Because, amongst the endless qualities that made for an ultra-stubborn Dad was his rigid insistence upon exactly what he would and would not eat, no matter what!
P.S. In case you’re wondering why I didn’t just pick up for him or have delivered his groceries or cook it all personally (except for 18 hard-boiled eggs) I’m going to leave you in suspense…
In the meantime, I’ll let you in on what this whole unattractive dynamic was really about. By fall 2011, several frightening car incidents caused my father to take taxis everywhere. His driving independence was lost. The only vestige of his commanding Principal presence was his egocentric ability to make perfect strangers bow to his “greatness”. Make sense?
For more stories about “Life with Father”, stay tuned for the publication of Coping with Un-cope-able Parents: ADVOCACY for Eldercare later this year. Naturally, you can always reach me at (905) 822-2503 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org