Contact Me Here
This form does not yet contain any fields.
    « So What | Main | Full And Broken »

    I Love John

           About three o’clock one morning in June of 2006, while spending the night at my parents' house, I awoke to a rustling in the nearby bathroom. I got up to see what was going on. It was my dad. And he was making a little ruckus.
           My father had contracted a nasty rash from coming in contact with lawn fertilizer, and was prescribed some cream to relieve the intense itching. But he was having great difficulty applying the ointment to his arms. My eighty-six year old dad was tired, and in considerable physical distress from his ailment. Fumbling about, mumbling and swearing under his breath like he always did when he was frustrated, the poor guy was just having a miserable time.
           Bleary eyed myself, and functioning at less than optimal after attending my nephew’s college graduation party, I approached my father and said, “Dad, let me help you.” Now, helping my dad, with anything, was not always easy. My father was old school, wanted to do everything himself, and was a bit of a control freak. He had started a construction company from scratch with his dad back in the 1950‘s, and built it into a very successful business through a lot of hard work. A World War Two veteran who spent two years on Guam building airstrips in the middle of the jungle, he only delegated what he absolutely had to. And he rarely asked for help.
           But there we were, in the bathroom at three in the morning. I wasn’t waiting for my dad to ask me for help. I simply wasn’t going to let him do this by himself. At my insistence, my “Dear Old Dad”, as he frequently referred to himself as, dropped his arms and let me take the wheel. He let his underwear clad, half-asleep, slightly hung over, youngest son rub the doctor prescribed medicated goop all over his arms, thus alleviating his discomfort.
           It was a beautiful moment, being able to help my father. I was aware of that then, even through my sleepy haze. As I rubbed the cream on his arms, we talked about how much fun the party had been, and about my plans to spend the summer in California. When I was done, my dad thanked me. We hugged and kissed goodnight.
           A few hours later, at about eight AM, I was awoken once again. Someone’s hands were gently stroking my hair, and a man was crying softly. My eyes slowly focused. There was my dad, leaning over me in bed, like he used to do when I was just a kid, touching my head, staring at me with watery eyes and a little smile. He said to me, “John (my father rarely called me Clint).....thank you for what you did for me last night.” I touched him on the shoulders and said something like, “No problem dad. I’m glad I could help”.
           I was very close to my dad. We were very much alike in many critical ways. And as different as night and day in others. We shared many tender times together. And this may have been the closest I ever felt to him. In my life.
           When I woke up for good about an hour and a half later, I went downstairs to the kitchen. My folks were long gone by then, having headed off to Maine. Over the kitchen table, a table I had eaten countless meals at throughout my life, there was a note, taped to the chandelier. Before I even read it, I knew the note was from my dad.  Because the first thing I actually saw was the white surgical tape used to tape the note to the chandelier itself. My dad used white surgical tape for everything. It was his magic elixir. He loved the stuff. I think my dad believed that if it had been available during the days of the Titanic, that ship would still be afloat today.
           On the note, in my dad’s distinctive printing (he rarely used cursor, even though he had fabulous penmanship), were three simple words. “I Love John”.
           I can’t think about that moment, even now, more than seven years later, without tearing up. I have a feeling it’ll be that way for the rest of my life. I certainly hope so.

    (This picture was taken the week after.....)

    ©2013 Clint Piatelli, MuscleHeart, and Red F Publishing. All rights reserved.

    Reader Comments

    There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

    PostPost a New Comment

    Enter your information below to add a new comment.

    My response is on my own website »
    Author Email (optional):
    Author URL (optional):
    Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>