I just spoke with my dad for Father's Day. He and my sisters are out to dinner/lunch in Rochelle Park, NJ eating littlenecks and drinking wine and Johnny Walker Black on the rocks and passing around the horseradish.
He wanted to know what I'm up to and was very pleased to hear I've been working on music and melodies have been coming to me.
"A woman I trust told me to ask for Archangel Gabriel's guidance," I told him, "and I did and got like three great ideas right in a row and a melody."
"Gabriel. That is marvelous," he said. He was thrilled, I'm sure, because this is the closest I've come to religion over the past several decades. Also, I grew up going to and receiving all the Catholic sacraments at Saint Gabriel's church (St. Gabe's for short), which he still attends.
St. Gabe has been our homeboy for a long time. (And even though I don't consider myself Catholic anymore, I do call on an occasional Archangel. Gabe's all about communication and music and writing and birth and adoption, so I feel pretty connected to his copper-lit goodness. He's pretty femme, too, which I appreciate.)
"You're my special girl, you know?" my dad asked. Which he often does these days. The dementia has made him very demonstrative with his love.
When he hands the phone to my sister Nancy I hear him say, "The BEST," which he often tells me: "You're the best."
"He just said, 'She's the best one in the family,'" Nancy told me.
"I'm sorry," I said, laughing and cringing a little. "It's just because I'm away."
"Don't worry," she said. "He tells me I'm his favorite plenty these days, too." And we had a good laugh about it and then talked more about music and some ideas we want to work on.
Some years ago I started addressing postcards and envelopes to my dad, Ernie, as "The Ubiquitous Ernst." His name is Ernest, but we've called him "Ernst" over the years as a term of endearment. "Ubiquitous" just came floating in from the ether. And the funny thing is now his love is ubiquitous, There is a lot of it to go around. It wasn't always that way. There were times when it seemed no one was his favorite and no one was good enough. So it doesn't make it any less sweet to hear now, we are all the favorite.
It's me, Jennifer Bernice (rhymes with "Furnace": it was my Granny's name) Sutkowski
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