Dad in His Overalls, Me in Mine

By Anthony Buccino

It’s obvious that money talks – and he’s been silenced by decisions made light years above the clouds in penthouses by men unlike himself who he’s never met and most probably never will.


Dad wears overalls constantly. He hasn’t worked the planks in months, but he’s ready to return next week or tomorrow or later today, if they’d only call him.

His hearing isn’t so good since he stopped smoking. It wasn’t the quitting that robbed him of his sense but the thirty years of coughing so hard he shook the plaster from the walls.

Now we’re never sure if he hears us or if he’s in a silent, reflective gaze building god-knows-what in the canyons of his mind. But we’re getting used to it – like the sudden disappearance of slack in his belt.

Lately, he’s been spending most nights in the poorly lit garage tinkering with a confounded invention of modern man – a saw sharpener! – that hasn’t worked right since the day I moved it a little bit. His chances of success in fixing it are much the same as a little boy emptying the ocean into a moat surrounding his sand castle.

But to look at him you’d see right away he’s harmless. And you’d want to smother him under your wing to protect him from the ghouls of this world who would so readily take advantage of his good nature.

He is well-trained in the hammer and nail. When you look at our house you immediately think of the shoemaker’s children running barefoot.

It’s obvious that money talks – and he’s been silenced by decisions made light years above the clouds in penthouses by men unlike himself who he’s never met and most probably never will.

It never wears him down. He’s seen the great hunger of this century. He’s seen the bullets and the flesh. And his soul has absorbed every flash of lightning in his life.

Mellowed, surely, seeing life as an endurance test for the fit. Losing the battle, yet winning the war. So, education wasn’t his forte, he can read and tell you a hundred stories if you’ve got the coffee and time.

I wonder, would my feelings be any different had there been more time between us? Had I given him the time I longed for in angry, misdirected poetic nights? I cry inside at the pettiness that trifles with our emotions. And I long for the days I never had.

With a chance tomorrow to share my life with his, I can see I won’t take it upon myself. Nor will he. We are set in our ways like the weeds and flowers.

There’s not much time left for us. I’ll be married soon and into some other life. He’ll be scrambling in the yard with the lawn mower and a few other machines that perplex and challenge him.


Adapted from A Father's Place, An Eclectic Collection

© 1976 - 2017 by Anthony Buccino, All Rights Reserved

Read:

Dad Tales and Reflections

Sixteen Inches on Center

A Father's Place, An Eclectic Collection

ANTHONY'S WORLD

Anthony Buccino


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New Jersey author Anthony Buccino's stories of the 1960s, transit coverage and other writings earned four Society of Professional Journalists Excellence in Journalism awards. The Pushcart Prize-nominated writer has been called ' “New Jersey’s ‘Garrison Keillor” or something to that effect.’

Copyright © 1995-2017 By Anthony Buccino. All rights reserved. Permissions & other snail mail: PO Box 110252 Nutley NJ 07110



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