Tuesday, September 18, 2012

And Then There Was One. . .

        As you probably expected, I married ("grow up" is still in progress).  We had an engagement party first and I guess that was the last time that,as his 'littke girl', I danced ON Daddy Joe's shoes.  Joe and Julie, post 'giving away THIS BRIDE, coupled along until my brother and I started OUR families.
        The they 'morphed' slowly through that last right of passage, welcoming the 'next' generation.  Mom, of a somewhat superstitious tending toward paranormal bent, led Joe into 'giving his regards to Broadway, Times Square and Forty-Second Street and ALL the 'sidewalks of New York'.  Within two years of his retirement, they moved to Virginia and the aerie of our little nest. 
        Our son Philip - an only child for seven -- what he calls "golden" years - but finally had the first of his sisters, named for Julie.  Mom Julie actually was heard to say one day (when she thought she was alone holding the child, "Now I can go.")   Little Julie dressed up, grew up and, much to Joe/Dad's surprise, helped his adjustment to his "leading lady's" exit - stage left, "laughin' all the way".
        In a blink, he was told there was to be gall bladder surgery;  he went to get an oil change and when he got back to the hospital he was told it was cancer. 
        "I'm afraid it spread to the liver, Mr. G," the surgeon said as we gathered around her bed - talking strategy.
         "Well.  OK.  She can have half of my liver.  Whatever."
        "YOUR liver?"
        she shot right out of her anesthetic drowse to pose this incredulous question .  (Joe was a Rye fancier and the only "Four Roses" Julie had ever wanted came with sprays of 'baby's breath'.  The very IDEA of his 'marinated' liver moving into HER occasionally red wine-drizzled abdomen put her in a tailspin.)  But she hung in for almost two years of 'extra innings' by which time they were living in our home because little Julie's Daddy slipped a lumbar disc, putting him in the adjacent bedroom to convalesce while getting very close to the lady who'd given him HIS bride and now was leaving him with HER groom. 
        The day their house was sold, she sighed in relief;  Joe cried in his grief.  Curtain.  BLACKOUT. 
'Poppy's' Peeps with His Little Girl
        The following ten years - "The Poppy Era" in the Leavy Household - would bring many a 'Poppy' story told by the many who comprised the two generations that followed his.  After a decent interval - three or four days after Julie's funeral, Joe emptied his closet, pitching his entire wardrobe.
        "I've hated BLUE for thirty-four years.  Finally, I get to wear what I WANT!"
        He was one 'pissed off' dude - clad exclusively in tones of brown.  But, as my friend KD always said,
        "Better to be pissed off than pissed on."  He always loved Kathy.  And the 'peeps. And his 'little girl' and husband, 'Doc'.  And - for a few years, until he accepted the fact that he cou;dn't destroy himself and nobody was going to let him leave - Four Roses. 
        Then one day doc packed his brown suitcase, placed it on the front porch and told him to come back in thirty days - after completing 'the program' - and the door would be open.  He did and it was and I scurried the kids around to AlaFam and Ala teen and Poppy didn't seem to have ANYTHING on his 'dance card', I asked why he wasn't going to the Al anon meetings.
        "Well,  kiddo.  I went to one.  All, these people talked about  was drinking and that's what I'm NOT supposed to do.  Tell you the truth, I don't think you should be draggin' the kids to those meetings, talkikn'; about drunks.  I'm just sayin'."
        And another chapter ended.  The last - 'Just-call-me-Poppy', the ultimate Au peres, starts tomorrow. 
Later, Lorane. . . .
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