Jewish World Review June 20, 1999 /6 Tamuz 5759
He's been dead almost three years now, and, yet, he constantly intrudes on my psyche.
He's like the commercial ditty you can't stop humming, and he's always demanding my attention.
Yes, Popsie, what is it now?
Isn't it enough that you talked my ears off when I was kid, teaching me the difference between right and wrong, lecturing me, making sure I did my homework, praising me for good grades, encouraging me when I slipped?
Isn't it enough that you had most all my weekends? You never went anywhere. Instead you were always hovering around the house, reading me books, showing me how to play board games or organizing neighborhood games of Capture the Flag.
You never left us alone. You were always helping us build forts and tree houses.
Remember the foxhole we dug on the empty lot next door? And the fort in the bamboo patch? The best was the house in the rubber tree. Isn't that enough?
And really, isn't it enough that you always got to come to my birthday parties and tell all those ghost stories around the fire? Isn't it enough that you made us sit down to meals together and never let us watch television during the week?
You were always around, Popsie. All my friends' parents went to parties but not you. Nope, you were always home, even during all those years when you were a bachelor. Dear ol' dad and his pals had to hang around the house, keeping us up late with funny tales of youth and glory.
Isn't it enough that you got to drive my girlfriends and me to football games every Friday night and to the Tastee Freeze afterward for a "drizzle-drazzle"? Isn't it enough that you interviewed every guy I went out with and waited up for me to come home? And how about dragging me to museums and plays, teaching me to dance and play poker?
Isn't it enough that you bugged me when I cried in my room over boyfriends and hurt feelings and, "Oh, nothing" as teenaged girls do? You always were insisting that I tell you what's wrong, pushing my hair out of my face and saying in that funny voice, "Whassah mattah, buddy?"
"Nothing!" I'd say. And you'd keep on until, finally, I'd give in and tell you. Even then you wouldn't let it go. Oh, no, you had to sit there, making perfect sense of my nonsense until you made me smile. I hated that.
And what about the time I crashed the Jeep into that tree? You never left my side for a minute those three weeks in the hospital. Not once.
Isn't it enough that you got to enjoy that summer when all my friends moved in with us while I was laid up with a broken leg? Who had it better?
Isn't it enough, too, that all through my college years, my various jobs, my marriages, my child, you called me on the phone to hear me say, "Everything's great!" even though you knew sometimes it wasn't. And you wouldn't let it go until you could make me smile?
Isn't it enough that every day, whether I'm driving, cooking, walking or writing, your words come back to me?
You must be amused to note that I really did hear you all those times you thought I wasn't paying attention.
Isn't it enough that you had 45 years of my life?
No, Popsie. It wasn't