Defending Dads

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Forty-One Years Gone X

I woke up 4:00 AM the morning of Friday, September 30 believing that, by the time I returned home, my grandmother’s things would be fully secured, mission accomplished. Oh, the power of self-delusion.

By 9:30 PM, I found myself sitting in a U-Haul outside my cousin Renee’s place with my mother, cousin and half a truckload of cargo for which there was no delivery point. There are plenty of storage facilities across the five boroughs that offer 24-hour access, but very few take new customers after 8:00 PM, none of which were close to the Mott Haven section of the Bronx. Worse, my mother was adamant about going home. To Poughkeepsie, New York.

There was no wringing of hands. I announced to my passengers that I would be parking the truck behind the U-Haul at E. 144th St. and Grand Concourse, picking up my minivan, then driving everyone home. Curtis expressed concern that the cargo might be stolen over the course of the night. Without a hint of sarcasm, I told him we would just have to take that chance.

We had been so driven to complete the clean out that some critical details escaped my notice: The truck was equipped with a pad lock for the cargo area! The key for this lock was on the ring with the ignition key. At the time we rented the truck, I saw the key, wondered what it was for, then forgot about it.

This night, I made the decision to leave the half-loaded truck on the street with the cargo door unsecured despite the presence of a functional padlock. I wouldn’t discover this oversight until the following afternoon.

Presently, I dropped Curt back at his place, then embarked on the 75 minute drive to my mom’s place. In Poughkeepsie, New York. It was after 10 PM.

There was little traffic, but the rage I suppressed at having to make the trip in the first place made it a white-knuckle drive. I made three stops along the way: One for a Whopper Jr. and two for naps.

My mother and I spoke very little along the way. I let SiriusXM’s comedy channels do the talking. God knows I needed to laugh to keep from crying. Kevin Hart was on. He’s a funny guy, but he barely got a chuckle out of me that night.

We arrived safe and sound at my mother’s apartment building, but there was still the matter of taking her things upstairs. Fortunately, the building makes shopping carts available for just such occasions. My mom grabbed one, I loaded it, delivered the cargo and bid my mom farewell. Mom offered to put me up, but I told her that I needed to be alone for a while. She said “I can respect that.” I didn’t have the energy to read into the comment.

I jumped back in the minivan. It was 1:30 AM. Driving back home would be foolhardy. I chose to drive back to the Bronx.

Fatigue plagued me on the drive down state. By the time I reached the town of Nyack, just north of the Tappan Zee Bridge, I had to pull into a commuter parking lot to catch a nap. It was 2:30 AM. I set my phone’s alarm to 5:00 AM and fell asleep to SiriusXM’s “Just for Laughs” channel thinking to myself “When will this end?”

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