When I came home from my job at a meat-packing plant (ugh, don’t ask, it was a long time ago) on this day, December 21st, I got a call from my aunt telling me that my dad had been taken to hospital. He’d collapsed at home. She told me to stay home and wait for news.
So I waited. And waited. I cleaned things. I remember installing some kind of shelf in the kitchen. I paced. Then a knock on the door. I opened it to find my Aunt standing there. She’d been crying. The first thing she said was, “We lost him.” He was 45 years-old.
I haven’t thought about that day in years. He passed away on December 21, 1992. And the passage of time has indeed done its healing thing. I think about him a lot though. He was my dad all too briefly. My mom fell in love with him when he moved in next door to us when I was seven. So, technically, my mom married the boy next door 🙂 He was awesome too. A great father, funny guy, passionate about oldies music, devoted to his family and even though he was my stepfather, I never referred to him as such until I had to start explaining how I was related to him after I met my equally awesome and cool biological father. It gets complicated 🙂
I changed my name from Gleason, which is my birth name, to Romanski – his name – when I was 10 as a birthday gift for him and I’m damn proud to still be a Romanski, if only in name and not by heritage.
Anyway, I wanted to remember him today by telling one of my favourite stories about him – of which there are many 🙂
When we lived in Council Bluffs, IA for a time, my parents had joined a bowling league. Sometimes my sister and I would go with them and watch or play in the arcade etc. while the adults bowled. But on one particular occasion, I was home babysitting Kelly and enjoying having total control of the TV 🙂 I was just about to make some popcorn and enjoy an evening of MTV when the door opened and i walked my parents way too early.
Puzzled, I asked what they were doing home. As I said this dad had scurried off to their bedroom while my mother was doing her best to to break out laughing. I remember grinning and asking again why they were home so early. Then my dad came out, looking sheepish, and said that he had torn his jeans.
I asked if he fell or something.
“No. Hehehe. I was about to bowl, and as I took a step I heard a *RRRRIIIIP* and then felt a breeze where there should be no breeze.”
I stifled a giggle. He went on to explain that his jeans were perhaps a touch too tight, and that when he took the big Bowler’s step, they split at the seem, exposing his tighty-whiteys to the entire league. but the best part of the story is what he did next. He did not try and slink away in shame. Oh no, not my dad 🙂 After freezing for a moment, probably trying to decide how best to proceed, in typical ‘that’s my dad’ fashion, he turned around and faced everyone in the league, and did a little jig.
Everyone laughed and my mom was giggling all the way home. I love this story 🙂
That’s my dad.