Dad in a ratty sport coat

I have read on multiple occasions that there’s nothing more boring than having someone tell you their dreams. That, and retelling something funny that happened and you just had to be there, never pan out for the listener. So, eh, sorry.

I wanted to record this one because A. I want to start recording all of the special dream-visit dreams and B. This one was about my father, who transitioned after a Glioblastoma brain tumor back when I was pregnant with Rockinrolla, in October of 1996. I haven’t dreamed about him much.

A bit of background: My father was the exact opposite of a fashion plate. He couldn’t have cared less about the clothes he put on his body. Suits from decades past, thick polyester ties, no iron shirts, elastic waist khakis and shorts, white socks with loafers. He just didn’t care. His nod to style was the meticulous maintenance of his comb-over (my mom cut his hair, because he was afraid a barber would whack off that eight inch curtain of ginger brown hair) and thorough shellacking with Aqua-net. And the daily grooming of his bushy, full beard. He’d just as soon pine for a cashmere sweater or fancy sport coat as, say, a Precious Moments collectible thimble. A new welder or jigsaw for his shop, though, or the hydraulic lifts for the boat and Sea Doo, now that would get his juices going.

Priorities that were hard for my painfully clothes-conscious teenage self to swallow: You’re going out in public? Wearing THAT? with ME?? But now, of course, I think it’s pretty awesome that he had his passions and didn’t give two hoots for spending money on his clothes.

On to the dream. Short and very sweet:

We (my dad and mother and, I think, my mother-in-law)* were in Nashville for an overnight festive family event** on Christmas eve. We were going to stay in a nice hotel and go to a sculpture garden or art museum or something, and out to a nice dinner, and then to a Christmas morning church service.

My mother and Grandma L. walked ahead of my dad and me. He was wearing a faded black cotton sport coat over a v-neck sweater. The coat was way too tight and short, and the shoulder seams were ripping open.***

I thought how like him it was to not even notice what he had on, and then thought that maybe he would like something nicer to wear, he just didn’t want to spend money on himself and would rather buy stuff for our family that he thought was more important. I decided to buy him a fancy new sport coat; I’d sneak in while he was sleeping and measure him from shoulder to shoulder and his sleeve length so I’d get the perfect fit. A subtle, woodsy plaid, I thought, would be nice. I was really excited about giving him that.

We walked with our arms around each other on the cold sidewalk, and it felt so good to squeeze his ribs and feel his arm around me. He was laughing and smiling and incredibly, perfectly happy. He looked so great, comb-over and all. I started crying in my dream, just weeping, as I was feeling how much we loved each other and looking at his happy face. Why am I crying? I kept asking myself. This is wonderful. This is perfect. Why am I crying?

* My brother is absent. Where is my brother?

** Zero basis in reality for this trip. Stay in a nice hotel an hour from home, just because it’s festive? Surely you jest. Also, we didn’t go to church with any regularity after I was in late elementary school.

*** He never wore anything THAT bad.


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