It’s Friday night, and Tim’s still working away from home. I made French Toast for dinner. With cinnamon, like you used to make all the time. On impulse, I added a drop of vanilla. I don’t think it added anything to the taste – maybe it’s not for me.
As I sprinkled some cinnamon on a piece of bread in the frying pan, I remembered those many Sunday brunches after church where you would make hundreds of pieces of French Toast for us on the griddle. And I remembered that you sometimes put the cinnamon on like zebra stripes, just for fun.
There was a little bit of egg mixture left – but not enough for a full piece of toast. I fried it like you used to do all the time. I remember seeing you do it one day and you started making sure there was enough left for both of us whenever you made French Toast after that.
I stood at the counter to get a head start on my portion of dinner while it was still warm, and I thought of all those times you would lean against the counter and eat instead of joining us at the table. Brunch sometimes took a few hours – between you making enough food for everyone and it being eaten. You would often sneak a piece here and there between the dozens you made for the rest of us.
I wasn’t a terribly big eater, but I could polish off at least seven or eight pieces, as long as you used regular bread. After a few experiments with Texas Toast, we both agreed regular bread was the best. I still don’t put syrup on mine. I follow in your footsteps there – butter is sufficient for me.
I’d be omitting a truth if I didn’t say I choked on a tear or two while I stood at the stove tonight.
It might be because I caught an episode of How I Met Your Mother last night, one where Marshall’s dad dies and the group goes around thinking about the last words they heard from their dads. I couldn’t help but cry over that one. We last spoke almost 6 full months before you passed away. I wished you Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. And I promised to keep in touch. That was three years ago now.
I got busy with work – I guess Mum’s workaholism, and yours too, rubbed off, hey? The last time you called, you spoke to Tim and he passed on the message that you called and I really did mean to call you back, but I just never got around to it.
Maybe I’m so tearful about you lately because my son, your grandson, whom you never got to meet - unless you met before he came to us - will be turning a year old in two weeks. Mum thinks he really looks like you. And Abby, who was only two weeks old when we drove the fifteen hours to Medicine Hat to see you after your heart attack, she’s already almost three and a half.
You know, I really have come to terms with the guilt I used to feel over not staying in better contact. It’s just, I miss you sometimes, you know?
Not the you just before you left us (that was barely a shell of who you used to be) – but the one who used to take me driving out in the countryside after church on Sundays, the one who taught me how to play chess, and the “White Pawn Trick”.
We didn’t always get along – and as you know, we did have a pretty big falling out when you moved up north to go to work. It had been building for awhile, but I like to think we worked it all out, like adults.
I’m going to do my best to make sure your grandkids know about you. Maybe I’ll make zebra striped French Toast next time, and I’ll tell them why it’s so special. When they’re a bit older, I hope to teach them the “White Pawn Trick”, too.
Anyway, I just wanted you to know that I love you.