Phase III – Part III

Travels with Dad

—-This is a story of a complex relationship with my father, Al, who I came to love and understand after he was diagnosed with dementia.—-

The Golf Outing

Shortly after I met my future husband, Brian, it became apparent that both my father and he were interested in talking golf.  I was the go-between one day when my father asked me to ask Brian what kind of golfer he was.  Brian’s response was “Tell him I’m a bogey golfer”.  Ok, I said.  But what does that mean?   Will he understand?  Brian said, yes, he will understand.  Don’t worry.

More pressing and worrisome were some other questions: 

What does this all mean?   Does my father think he’s going to play golf with Brian?  Why, why, why???  

After I reported Brain’s answer back to Al, he asked Brian to play golf.  My worst nightmare of the era coming true.

I had 2 initial thoughts:   “Great”, and “Oh my God!” 

“Great” because maybe my father will actually have a positive experience associated with me.  

“Oh my God”  for the same reason!

I was worried too.  I spent some delicate moments with Brian explaining that my father will most likely be mean to him, put unreasonable restrictions on him on the golf course, and not buy him lunch.

I emphasized that he didn’t have to do this.  I would still really like him if he didn’t play golf with my father.  There was no need to impress me.   He could get out of this at any time.

But, no.  Brian wasn’t worried.  He thought I was nuts.   I hadn’t yet explained it all to him, all of the bad history between Al and I.  I worried that he would think I was exaggerating, so I never planned on explaining it all.

So off they went…..to play golf.  I was on pins and needles that day.   When Brian returned, I expected him to confess that he would never play golf with Al again.  To my surprise, he said he had fun, and would most certainly play with him again.

Hmmm, how could this be?

I questioned him:  Was he unreasonable, irrational and illogical?

Answer: No, No, and No.  We had a good time.

They never did play again for whatever reason, but this was a successful male bonding episode.  Al really liked Brian, and Brian thought Al was a nice guy.

Whew!

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2 Responses to Phase III – Part III

  1. Ann says:

    Diane-isn’t it ironic how others see our parents?! My entire life,people have gone on and on about how my folks are hard working,honorable,generous,etc. Theses things are all true,but they were also very strict, and unaffectionate,even harsh,at times. No one ever mentioned THAT! They did stay together through very difficult times,however,and gave me the foundation for the aforementioned attributes.

    As a young person,I so often felt utterly frustrated,because I saw things others didn’t, and I knew I wasn’t making things up!

    At forty-six,I can now look at all of this and understand the complexities of being a parent,a child and a human.

  2. Diane Fiore says:

    Ann, I guess we need to keep in mind that we are complex beings, and there are at least 2 sides to every story or situation. I’m really glad you recognize the admirable virtues that you inherited through some adversity. I do understand! Thanks, as always, for your thoughts.

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