Like almost every evening before and after that, my dad had unlaced his shoes, stretched out on his back on the sofa, and begun to watch the news "with his eyes closed," flannel shirt unbuttoned and exposing a white thermal undershirt. If one were to listen carefully, after awhile, one would begin to hear a faint growl from somewhere under that thick mustache each time his lungs emptied.
Now, when I was very young, my parents called me the porcupine, first of all because of the slender quills growing from my back which would detach and embed themselves in unsuspecting animals, but also because I was a child who did not like being touched (who am I kidding? I am now an adult who only sometimes likes it). Apparently I would bristle and occasionally even sneer when people, even family members, attempted to express unwanted physical affection. Perhaps it goes back to being insanely tickelish...?
Anyway, returning to the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour (whose opening strains are forever engraved onto my soul; in fact I do believe if you were to draw a phonograph needle across my few memories of those early years, between the collection of poorly-understood Little Mermaid songs and Bruce Springsteen, you'd hear the entire intro theme to that show with its triumphant brass and rousing tempo, ushering in a deeper look at the most important news stories of the day). . . although on this day, as was NOT mentioned on the news hour but as occasionally happens to younguns, I had been knocked off my feet by a stomach bug which left me feeling pretty crummy and strangely cuddly. I saw him lying there, wanted some comfort in my state of misery, and crawled up on top of him, a little beetle of probably only three or four, to snuggle against his warm chest. My father, only dimly aware of his surroundings, put a hand on that tiny back, and returned to watching the news, pleased, nevertheless, that I was showing such physical affection.
And that is how, several years later, my dad recalled the story. How sweet, right?
"Hon," my mom interrupted, in disbelief, "what about the rest of the story? Do you not remember the part when she began throwing up and you used your shirt to catch the vomit so it wouldn't get all over the sofa?"
Apparently he did not.
I spewed chunks of warm, half-processed toddler food all over him. It was soaking through his undershirt and dribbling down his torso, but my father was so delighted at this rare moment of intimacy with his young daughter that through the years his memory only preserved the part where we cuddled.
Sort of gross but sort of really tender.
This post is part of the Blue-Beta Blog Coordination, a continuing series of content coordinated by theme or motif with posts from Confuzzled of I Keep Wondering, Gromit of The Dancing Newt, Redoubt of Redoubt Redux, Third Mango of Funkadelic Freestylings of Another Sort, Yarjka of Sour Mayonnaise, and Xanthippe of Let’s Save Our Hallmark Moment. This week's theme: 'childhood'.