Shortly after moving back home I borrowed my dad’s car to return and finish the final cleaning of our old place. Dad’s car wasn’t getting much use since he had stopped working and lending it to me gave my family the freedom to get out and about while I was away. It’s worth knowing for the purpose of this story that the only spare key for mom’s car was on dad’s key ring.
The morning after I returned home I got a flustered call from my dad asking my to return his keys, not the car, the keys. Mom’s keys had gone missing. “Sure thing dad!” But the keys were no where to be found. I searched high and low in a very panicked way, like a child who had disappointed her father.
My dad was not a patient man with things like this. In fact I would have to say it was quite the opposite. We now had 3 cars between our families but only 1 of them had keys that could be located. Two homes were being torn apart from top to bottom. One man was cursing while two woman scurried frantically praying to locate the missing keys. Even before a thorough examine could be completed dad had called the dealership to have another key made for mom’s car and was picking that up before heading to the post office to organize a retrieval of the mail key. All with the speed and fierceness of a tornado.
That night, at bedtime I found my dad’s keys. Nestled in a pile of toys next to my 5 year old’s bed. I almost flew in to the same sort of frantic rage that had consumed my father’s morning but instead I asked him “did you take Gramp’s keys?”
“But what are these?”
“Those are the keys I was playing with.”
“But why didn’t you give them to me when I was looking for Gramp’s keys?”
“Cause I didn’t know those were Gramp’s keys.”
It was perfect in it’s logic. And thankfully I could laugh the crazy of the day away and present to my dad the next morning his returned keys with a story. To this day I am not certain he fully believed his grandson. But I did.
My dad so often carried the weight of the world on his shoulders alone. Making it easy to lift from peaceful to angry at what may have appeared to be the tiniest of things. This day the lost keys gave him something familiar to place his attention upon. He could fix this while stamping his feet and cursing at those around him and for a few short hours feel parts of who he was before he became the man with inoperable cancer. So though we were battered a small bit by the storm of his frustration he found a safe harbor. He had something to do other then be sick.