I remember the very last time I went out with Dad. It was a somewhat haunting experience looking back now but I'm glad I had the chance to have it. I was gonna go to the Off Track Betting joint downtown to play the ponies...a hobby of mine that I've picked up. Its fun and I usually do fairly well. At any rate I had no plans on taking Pop with me but something told me to give him a call and see if he wanted me to swing by and pick him up. He said "Sure...come on by". I picked him up and it was kind of a production what with all the medical gear he had to drag with him. Cane, oxygen, tank. So I had him sit in the backseat in the Jag and it was easier getting him in and outta the car that way. Dad had never ridden in the ole Jaguar XJ6. He LOVED the ride and kept commenting on how great the Jag was and how much liked the interior. Hey...whats not to like?? Its a classic. At any rate we had mixed luck at the OTB but had a great time anyway. My Dad liked to gamble but hadnt played the ponies all that much. He really enjoyed himself and kept telling me what a good time he had at the OTB. When we went to leave we went up the elevator and got off on the 7th floor of the parking garage. There was a very very slight incline to reach the car from the elevator and without thinking too much I walked slowly to the car. Then I realized Dad wasnt behind me...and I looked back and he was stopped and gasping for air...perched on his cane. It struck me how bad his lungs really gotten...I guess I hadnt seen him all that much recently. He looked at me, frustrated with his fight for air, and said "This is a fuckin' bitch". That moment haunted me for weeks and still its a moment that replays in my head over and over like a skipping record. He made his way to the car as I helped and we took off for home. In an awkward moment I said "Hey Dad...u were going downhill when we went TO the escalator, but coming back you were going uphill". Sorta trying to ease his irritation at his declining condition.
And so all this leads me to the reason for this post. Roller Derby has been a great passion of mine and I adore this great sport. I really do. And yet these last few months I have become uninspired, drained and lacking focus. Add to that the fact that for a few months I ws just "outta the loop". But ya know what?? Im fuckin' BACK. And I'm feeling the passion returning. I'm becoming that Derby obsessed maniac that you've come to know and expect!
One of the last things my Dad said before he passed away was "When I get to Heaven I'm gonna have a beer and shoot some pool". I'm pretty sure they allow that Pop.