Four years ago today

My father passed away on this day, February 28, four years ago.  Those kinds of days get frozen in memory.

I didn’t visit him the day he died.  It was the day we started Coffee News, and I was out delivering our first papers.  I did go by his house that day and looked in on him.  He was asleep.

Dad and Ikeybird

I did visit twice the day before.

Once, at lunch.  I was in the kitchen, eating some of his food, and talking with Tammy, his caregiver.  He walked in there, without the walker or wheelchair.  I looked up from the kitchen table and he was sitting across from me, breathing hard.

“You’re paying for that,” Tammy said.

Pulling for air, he nodded.

Later that night, I was at Port City Java, buying a cup of coffee for me and a piece of cheesecake for him.  He liked cheesecake enough to take a bite or two of it, towards the end, when he barely ate anything at all.

He called my cell phone to tell me that somebody good was on Larry King.  I wish I could remember who it was, but can’t.  I do remember it was somebody he knew was of special interest to me.  I went over and we watched the show together – something we did many nights.

After that, we watched a basketball game.

As I was leaving, he asked me if I would be back the following night to watch Wake Forest play.  He was a Carolina fan first, but he also loved Wake Forest out of sympathy for me (and because sending me there cost him a lot of money!)

Wake had a pretty bad team that year, and I think they were up against a much better team from Florida State.  I said, almost cruelly, that they were going to get killed and I didn’t want to see it.  Instead, I told him, I would watch American Idol with my daughter – and then visit after the show.

He died during American Idol (and he was a real one).

The picture here is from about 2003 or 2004, I think.  Taken in our house with an early PDA camera (fancy tech at the time).  Not great resolution, but a fun picture that I enjoy often.

[Thanks to the generosity and superior searching skills of Crystal Holmberg, I now remember Larry’s guest that night.  I had already tried, but Crystal successfully located that night’s transcript.  Larry’s guest on Feb. 27, 2006, was Jon Stewart — certainly my very favorite, as Dad knew].

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