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Sunday, May 21, 2017

No End

I have a delusion which I hear is common after the death of a loved one. I feel as if my father is still alive and all I have to do is pick up my phone and call him, and he will answer.

My father had his shadows, most definitely, like all of us...and yet his goodness, his devotion to family, and most especially the stable, happy life he gave his children when we were small, means everything to me.

I remember one summer he built a little A-frame house in our huge backyard, for a playhouse for us. I remember walking with my sister and a friend over to the next-door neighbor's house and back--it seemed such a safe world then, though my mother always made me walk with a buddy. I saw my dad on the roof of the A-frame, his toolbelt around his waist, and loved him so much for building a playhouse. My first memory is of him unwrapping a toy pink-and-blue terrycloth elephant for me. I was chin-high with the coffee table.

I remember the terrible day my father came home to tell my mother and grandmother (who lived with us) that he had been let go from his job. I was so small that I was in my mother's arms, and when my dad started crying, I did, too. He was probably only in his early thirties, already with three children. I remember his khaki uniform with his name stitched in red above the shirt pocket, because I could see it when he held me, and I remember him wearing that uniform the day he came home. What happened? Was there a layoff, or did he do something wrong? I won't ever know--one of the many things I won't be able to ask him.

 I can imagine why he was so upset and afraid. He had a house, a mortgage, small children to care for. And what my dad did was establish the same type of business he had been fired from. And he grew that business into a strong and steady, and highly lucrative one. He never had to be fired again.

So many stories about a man who taught me what integrity and hard work means. I never expected the world to hand me everything on a platter, that I would have to work hard to get things in life and that was okay...and I would appreciate things more if I worked hard for them.

I'll leave you with a picture of my cool dad, being cool.