We took Pere to Beck's Land and Sea House north of Nazareth for a long planned Father's Day dinner, delayed by this and that. Beck's is the best seafood restaurant around for all that it is well inland. Margie and I had the broiled cod, each of a size worthy of being called Cod the Father. Pere had a most excellent Surf and Turf.
|This is the actual table at which we sat|
Google Maps has gone mad and took us what it deemed the easy way, by way of Jacobsburg state forest, and we found ourselves on two lane blacktops wending through dense forest cover with signs bearing hikers and warning of trail crossings ahead. The more direct route, which we had taken once before, wound through downtown Nazareth, and Google Maps for its own dark reasons shuns stop lights.
During dinner we discussed this and that and wound up somehow on the subject of how old Flynns are when they die. Not too morbid, right. Pere is 92 and quite lively. His father smoked from the time he was 10 years old and only lasted to age 77. He wasn't too sure about his grandfather, Daniel; but did recall that we was supposed to die several times when they shortened his legs. Each time they cut a bit off his legs to try to get the cancer, they told him he would not likely survive the operation. "But Flynns are stubborn," my Dad said calling the kettle black, and Margie almost choked on her cod at the Understatement of the Millennium. By the end, Daniel had no legs left up to nearly his hips and sat in wheelchair.
By then, he was living with his daughter, my dad's Aunt Kathryn, who ran Flynn's Hofbrau out by Budd Lake in NJ. He remembered how he and his cousin John Schaible would visit there and when his grandfather had to go to the bathroom, Aunt Kathryn would lean over and he would wrap his arm around her neck, and she would rise up holding him and carry him into the rest room and set him down to do his business; then carry him back out. He remembered how matter-of-fact they were about it. So far as I know, no Flynn has ever been put into a Home.
Pere recalled that he had been a pretty good pool player in his younger days, but his Aunt Kathryn always beat him. One of my cousins told me once that he had gone up there to play her table. "What size cue do you use?" the by-then old lady asked him. On receiving an uncertain answer she replied that she preferred a 32 (or whatever it was). Then she pulled out a carrying case and screwed together her personal stick. "I knew right then," my cousin said, "that I was dead. That old lady ran the table on me." Ah, there were giants on the earth in those days.
She wore out three husbands, Pere told us at dinner. Her first husband was named Mill, the second Poole, and the third Giroux. My grandfather used to joke that she had married successively the mill, the pond, and the frog.
A week ago, Pere had an unusual experience. He was dozing in the chair at his house when the phone rang. The phone has an unusually loud ringer for the obvious reason. So he sat up and... there, across the living room stood my mother, sort of semi-transparent, like a hologram. Now, she had never lived in that house -- it had belonged to Pere's second wife -- so he was startled to see her appear there. Or indeed, to appear anywhere, she having been dead for many years. Her lips parted, as if she were about to speak and then, just as suddenly, she disappeared.
Pere did NOT wake up at that point. He was already awake. The phone had awoken him. What do you think she was about to say? we asked him.
Knowing your mother, he answered, it was probably "Answer the damned phone!"