Dooop

"That SOB is going to kill me one day," my father said that more than once. I began calling him Pop at some point after I moved out and got married. I think he liked it.

Pop didn't get along with his pulmonologist, and he argued with him about everything from medicine to how much water he was supposed to drink. Emphysema is a nasty, nasty disease and Pop was in the final stage. He had done well for a couple of days in intensive care but the professionals said he would "crash" when he went to a regular room. They were right.

He talked out of his head about seeing Jesus or at least I assumed he was out of his head. What do I know?

Then he quit talking at all for a while but made a sound that I associated with the fishing trip. One Christmas when I was about eight or nine he bought three cheap rod and reels for my brother and I. When he decided to "show" us how far he could cast, he forgot to release the button. The rod snapped off in his hand and sailed out into the middle of the pond. He laughed until the tears rolled.

He told that story many times over the years and the sound he made when he demonstrated the cast was always the same: "Dooop!"

He'd said it again lying in the hospital bed and a smiled played across his lips.

"Y'all go on home," he said later when he came around for one of the last times. "You shouldn't have to watch this."

My brother, my three sisters, my Mom, and I stayed anyway.

************



I had decided to have THE TALK with him about a year before this. Pop was on oxygen then, still sneaking the occasional cigarette and his gardening had been reduced to three tomato plants planted beside the pump house. He was pouring Miracle grow on them.

"You know I love you, don't you?" I asked.

"Yes, I do," he said as he poured the blue water from an old plastic milk jug.

That was it.

But I did know.

********



I asked Pop's pulmonologist if we couldn't do something to ease his suffering. Pop had become totally unresponsive, and my brother had stood by the bed wiping his nose for hours. The doctor suggested two separate shots of morphine and my Mom agreed.

The nurse came in. She prepped the needle for the first shot, slid it into the IV tube. I watched as she slowly pushed the plunger down and as the tears streamed down her face. She left the room.

My siblings left an hour or two later in search of supper. Pop had quit drowning, and breathed sporadically. They brought his last meal. Mom ate it. I wanted her to ask for the second shot, but couldn't bring myself to say so. We waited, he stopped breathing. Then he started again. Finally, it was over.

December 20th, today, is their wedding anniversary. Mom followed him this June and this will be their first anniversary together in quite some time. He's probably telling the story about the Christmas fishing trip again.

"Dooop!"

More by this Author

  • Roland, A Short Story
    9

    My first Western short story. A great big tip of the Stetson to Jason Whitman for allowing me to use his excellent photo. Jason Whitman Photography

  • White Buffalo, A Short Story
    20

    The ride from Sunset Beach to Pembroke, North Carolina is two hours. We were half way there and I had asked Steve Eaglefeather the same question five times before. "So I'm going to meet Jana Mashonee?" ...

  • Craig Johnson's Longmire
    2

    If you've never heard of the Craig Johnson Longmire books and television series, you've got a treat in store.


Comments 21 comments

lisa "pearl" snipes moree 4 years ago

I remember that story!! he told to me a couple of different times. I miss all the "foolishness" he called it when we all out in the yard making WAY too much racket. I got to admit those three tomato plants was beautiful, but I can"t ever remember seeing more then 4-5 tomatos on them LOL! I really miss those two especially this time of year...I was momma mary"s cookie tester!! I'm sure their having a ball up in the house of the LORD...pop has probably told evey angel that would listen the fishing sstory! Thanks for sharing.


resspenser profile image

resspenser 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Thanks, Lisa. He'd whip my behind if he knew his photo was all over the net!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

I know this is about your dad, Ronnie, but what keeps popping up in my mind is how well you convey the story. You sir, are a writer.

I'll bet your dad and mom would be proud of that. (Or maybe they already are. Who knows?)


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ

This is a beautiful testimony to your father. Your writing is very fine. I can see the fishing trip. My father died the same way. I still miss him.


Billie Pagliolo profile image

Billie Pagliolo 4 years ago from Laguna Hills, California

Lovely story. I like your crisp story telling. The topic brought to mind those poignant moments with my parents; thank you. I was a little confused by the phrase "That was it. But I did know." Did you mean you knew that he would have told you he loved you too, but he couldn't, but didn't have to? I like how you worked in the "dooop" - the very happy time your father remembered at the the end - I would hope that's what we all remember!


reneeahtes profile image

reneeahtes 4 years ago from Rock Hill, South Carolina

Wonderful memorial for you father!


resspenser profile image

resspenser 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

WiiStar,

This hub came about in an odd way. I wrote 95% of it on my iPad a week or two ago but didn't really know why. It just sat there until this morning when I realized that today was my parents anniversary. Thanks for your support and Merry Christmas!


resspenser profile image

resspenser 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Becky,

Sorry about your dad. Thanks for stopping by and Merry Christmas!


resspenser profile image

resspenser 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Billie,

Welcome! Thanks for commenting. You may have thought you were confused but you got it exactly right! Appreciate the compliments and I'll read some of your stuff as well.

Merry Christmas!


resspenser profile image

resspenser 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Hey Renee,

Thanks for reading, hope you have great Christmas!


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 4 years ago from Alberta and Florida

I also sat with my father and watched him die of emphysema. Not a pretty way to die. Even after all these years, I can see him struggling for each breath despite his desire to go. I remember a nurse saying, "There's nothing worse than being this ill and having a strong heart." How true. Best wishes, Lynda


resspenser profile image

resspenser 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Lynda,

Thanks for sharing that. Pop's heart was strong too and if not for his lungs he'd be with us today. I remember: L. S. M. F. T. (Lucky Strikes Mean Fine Tobacco!)


kelleyward 4 years ago

I enjoyed your approach to storytelling . Thanks for sharing!


resspenser profile image

resspenser 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Thanks, Kelley. I also enjoyed your hub on perfect children! Merry Christmas!


kelleyward 4 years ago

Merry Christmas to you also!!


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 4 years ago from North Carolina

When I saw the photo I knew pretty quick that was your pop. Kinda at a loss for words with a special one like this. Very happy you and your siblings have those memories my friend. Merry Christmas to you and the family Ronnie.


resspenser profile image

resspenser 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Thanks Alastar. Merry Christmas to you and yours!


mathira profile image

mathira 4 years ago from chennai

Very touching.


resspenser profile image

resspenser 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

mathira,

Thanks for reading and your comment.


Kathy 4 years ago

Lovely remembrance, Ronnie.


resspenser profile image

resspenser 4 years ago from South Carolina Author

Glad you liked it Kathy. I appreciate your input!

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working