Where were you this morning? I missed you at breakfast.”

“I took a cab and went to the local Catholic Church for mass. Today is the 15th anniversary of my Fathers death: “

“Isn’t it amazing how the years fly by. Were you close to your Dad?”

: “I hardly knew him growing up. I guess with a family he was rarely around, always working. He seemed like such a dour guy. I never saw any real emotion from him. Small wonder because my Grandfather was the most negative person in the world. My father told me that his father once said” life is a shit sandwich and every day we take a bite.”

“boy I can’t even imagine that, my Father was just the opposite.”

“I remember your Dad; he was always smiling every time I went to your house . “

“He had a lot of little boy in him. When he was 77 he had a hernia operation at Bayonne hospital. When the surgeon visited him after the operation he asked the doctor” “Doctor when I get home will I be able to play the piano.?” The doctor replied” certainly.” “That’s funny my Dad said” I couldn’t play it before the operation.”

“so that’s the origin of you being a ball buster.”

: “You don’t know the half of it, another time he is in the hospital having a pilonidal cist removed and the day after the operation he is roaming the halls as a good will ambassador. He spots a guy with a worried look on his face, and decides he will find out
what the guy is worrying about. He asks the nursing attendant what operation the person in 514 is having. He finds out that the woman in 514 is having a pilonadial cyst removed. With this information Dad moves in and tells the guy in great detail that he had the operation and it was a breeze and he’s fine. The guy is looking at him like he’s nuts. The nursing attendant had the wrong room. The guy’s wife was in 516 and was having a hysterectomy.”
: “so it’s true you guineas can’t tell your ass from your elbow’

“Did your Dad act like life was a shit sandwich.”

: “ I can’t remember that he ever hugged me growing up. He wasn’t mean or anything, just not very demonstrative,,,, except that one time. I was in the Marines and on my way to Vietnam. When I was leaving my aunt was crying, and I put my hand out to shake my Dad’s hand. He grabbed me and hugged me for what seemed eternity. When he finally let go I could see the tears in his eyes. For the first time I realized how much he loved me. He just couldn’t show it in the way I expected him to
show it After I came back from Vietnam the two of us spent more time together than we had spent before. After he retired, I actually got him to play golf. He was a terrific grandfather, and my kids really loved him.”

: “Tell me about your kids;”

“ I have five kids. Mary is the oldest. She‘s married to a physician. They have four kids. They live down the shore. Michael the next one is single, he’s a software engineer, whatever the hell that is. He lives in the San Francisco area. Beth is also single. She teaches music at Seton Hall University. Tommy is a pilot for Southwest airlines. He’s married and has a four year old son .The youngest is Rose, she’s single and teaches kindergarten kids.”

“Do you see your kids regularly?”

“They all have busy lives but I do see them regularly, (pauses) that is all but Michael. We butted heads for years and now he lives in California. The rest of the kids keep in contact but I haven’t seen him in years.”

“Do you know what caused the breech between you?”
: “One of the problems was that anything that I valued seemed to mean nothing to him. I tried to interest him in sports and frequently took him to sporting events. He would act as if he could not wait for the games to be over. He was a terrific swimmer, but would not even try out for the swimming team. I even got him golfing lessons, but that didn’t work either. I could never penetrate the shell with him. Another problem was that he was so damned liberal, and thought that everything I believed in was horseshit. We argued about everything. Actually you would probably love him. He’s more liberal than you.”

“Mike is there something more to it than the whole political difference between you?”

“It’s not just political. He has completely abandoned the Church. Even as a kid he resisted everything catholic. He was always bright, and yet he flunked out of Holy Ghost prep. I always believed that he did that deliberately. He never even considered a Catholic college, and does not buy into any of the Church’s guidelines: “

“I get the feeling that there is something more to your split than your telling me: “
Michel is apparently annoyed, and is reluctant to pursue the conversation “I’m not sure I want to talk about it because I just don’t get it.”

“Mike don’t make me be Sherlock Holmes what don’t you get?”

“It’s not easy…. I don’t know whether I should tell you.”
“Come on spit it out: “

“My son is …….gay. God I hate that fucking word.. I just can’t accept it.”
“When did you find out?”

“I think I always knew, but didn’t want to believe it.”

“Why not?”

“Shit you would not understand.. I’ve been through so many difficult things in my life, but I can’t get a handle on this. This blows me away, and the thought that he’s different kills me.”

“Did Arlene know that Michael was gay?”

“She knew and had no problem with it. That’s where we were so different. She could accept anything.”

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