It’s crazy, the things we remember.
There was a minor water leak at the office a few days ago. I used to have a water cooler next to my desk that had been scheduled for removal months ago, but they just now got around to it. It was hooked up to the water line and everything. When it was taken out, the line wasn’t drained properly and, during my off days, completely saturated the carpet around my desk. I came to work on Saturday to a squishy workstation. I called facilities and they took care of it pretty quick.
However, the area around my desk has this odd smell while it dries. I’m not sure exactly what it is, but it smells just like Grandpa Hardy’s butcher shop used to smell like. Almost metallic. That smell brought back a WAVE of memories from Hardy and Gail’s house out in the country. I remember the sound of the metal doorknob on the shop turning, the springs inside constricting. The sound of a car driving down the gravel road behind the house, heading towards the creek. The sound of Black Cats echoing off the countryside on the 4th of July. Grandma Gail’s laugh. Their old dog, Tippy, barking as we pulled into the drive. The sound of their old turn-dial microwave dinging. The trash compactor. All sights, sounds, and smells that completely fill my memory.
It’s two weeks to Christmas. I have a tree up, presents under the tree, and a stocking on the mantle. The cheer grows stronger, even while the clouds grow darker. The last time Dad and I spent time together was December 23rd and 24th last year. I helped him pick out a new phone at the U.S. Cellular store. We ate lunch at Brewburger, saw True Grit in the theater, watched Zombieland at home, and went to Blue Dome for breakfast the following day. He wanted waffles, but they only had pancakes. I almost ran a red light on the way home and that cracked him up when I panicked and slammed on the breaks. It wasn’t the last time I saw him, but it might as well have been.
I still haven’t made the drive to Pawhuska to see his grave marker with my own eyes. I’m off on Friday the 23rd and I might make the drive. Might not…I guess it depends on how I’m feeling. Plus I don’t fancy taking that trip alone. I did that enough when I was taking care of his estate. Maybe I won’t want to mar the holiday season with a day of somber sadness. Then again, maybe it’ll be somber anyway. Grief is weird like that.