I don’t get up terrifically early. That shouldn’t be a surprise for those that are familiar with my 2-11 work schedule. I don’t sleep ’til noon anymore (usually) but I’m looking at a 9:30 or 10 awakening. It’s rare that I actually exhibit what my brother and I referred to as narcawakey: waking up early and being instantly totally awake. Today is one of those days.
Dad would wake up and BE up. If we happened to be trying to wake up or something, he’d usually be sitting in his chair, hair all a’tussle, scheming some kind of harassment event to exhibit just how awake he was. Perhaps throwing a pillow. Maybe dancing in our direction and imploring us not to hit ourselves. We would complain and implore the man to show mercy. He rarely did.
Early mornings such as this bring two memories to mind. One being our vacation times at Disney. In order to get to the parks at opening, we had to rise and shine pretty dadgum early. I love the feeling of being awake before the rest of the world starts spinning; I feel like I have the jump on everyone. The other memory is the Saturday mornings I would accompany Dad to the office. The coffee would have already brewed, and as Dad started getting ready for his day I would make his coffee. Milk, sweetener added. Most mornings he’d also have a large glass of Diet Coke along with it. I’d take it upstairs and usually put it on the bathroom counter for him.
Morning time is also breakfast time. As everyone knows, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s also the best meal to have any time of day. Breakfast on Sundays was a family affair. The four of us would work in conjunction to put the meal together. Waking up to the smell of bacon already cooking is just about the best start to the day that can be.
I had a brief moment yesterday. I was on my way to St. Francis Hospital to visit my friend Billy, who had just come out of brain surgery. I sat at the stoplight in front of the hospital and was flooded with a wave of memories. Not just of St. Francis, but of other hospitals too. I remembered those who had passed in the sterile confines. The last handshake I had with my Grandpa Hardy. The downshifting cough of my Grandpa Dick. And I wished I’d had the chance to say goodbye to my father. The light turned green, so I composed myself and moved forward.