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What was My Dad Thinking?


I'm in a space where I can resume my attempts at writing.
I'm shaking off the rust. :D
Tell me what you think about this piece. Please critique.

I Wonder as I Wander;
Musings from the African Diaspora
by George A. Geder

William Emmett Geder

What was My Dad Thinking?

The safest I ever felt was laying in bed between my parents. Dad figured that age five was the cutoff point. One night he tied a monster balloon near the cracked window, woke me up pointing to the swaying dragon, then turned on the lights and asked me what the hell was I afraid of.

On Saturdays, my Dad would take me from one end of Binghamton, New York to the other where Philadelphia Sales, the poor people's discount store, was located. I would lead and occasionally look back to make sure he was keeping up. Shopping took minutes. We headed back towards the center of town, to Milton's Grill.

Comic books, orange sodas, my own private booth; compliments of Tony the bartender. Dad was 'belly-to-the-bar', I was seven years old, and it was 1958. Sometime in the afternoon, Dad would finally put me on the Conklin Ave bus returning me back to the end of Binghamton, New York with packages for Mom to inspect.

Dad did not talk a lot. I don't remember having long talks with him. He was usually brief and to the point. However, I could tell that there were many things on his mind. It just never occurred to me to ask him. By November of 1977, it was too late. He had passed away.

Everyone told me he was a fantastic piano player. He led many orchestras and bands in his prime. I only knew his playing from the holiday gigs, dance recitals and private parties. By then he was in the throes of arthritis. When I was five we moved, and Dad didnít take the baby grand piano.

My fourth grade teacher asked me where did I learn to write music like that. It was Dad's turn-of-the-century song encyclopedia, but I didn't tell her that. It could have been his own music had he not given up his passion in order to raise a family at the far end of Binghamton, New York.

The 1930 federal census for Syracuse, NY enumerated Daddy as the conductor of an Orchestra. This is three years before Pearle Hancock took his hand in marriage in Rochester, NY. Between 1935 and 1939 my two sisters and brother came along with hard times. I didnít show until 1951. My siblings were thrilled with that.

Was Dad thinking about the images of his Ancestors in the hidden photo album? Mom, born and raised in Williston, South Carolina with childhood memories of lynched, shot, and murdered uncles didn't want any reminders of the past hanging around her house. She would have thrown that album out in a fit of spring cleaning.

His Dad, Emmett Moore Geder, passed in 1944; his Mother, Beulah Stevenson, in 1910. I will never know about them. I never asked, he never told. Dad stayed with me while my oldest sister, his care taker, vacationed in Africa. I could have asked while shaving him or fixing his meals. What was I thinking?

"Daddy, eat your carrots, doctor's orders"
"When did your sister become a doctor?"
"You know she's gonna ask and I cannot tell a lie."

"Guided by the Ancestors"

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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