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For No Reason

November 1, 2021

It was the summer of 1959.

I know this because my father always had August off. Every New York City lawyer did, then. My father had a fully travelable family, three children, me the youngest soon or just at 5: two well dressed, cropped others, the eldest just 15, and his snappy wife.

Time for a family trip in our new, used, 1957 Fleetwood Cadillac. With an electronic eye to dim the brights at night, those inverting triangular Windows, and enough floor space that I could play with my trucks on the wall-to-wall carper as we crushed down the highway and my parents smoked Kent cigarettes.

First, to East Aurora, New York, my mother’s ancestral home, to see her Dad, Not well, and her mom, a smart former Roaring ’20’s girl, pretty snappy, herself. We stayed at an Inn, was it called “The Roycrofters”? (An arts group, whose founder, Elbert Hubbard, may, or may not, have had a scandalous moment with my mom’s mom.)

In any event, back there, in East Aurora’s, and my soon 5 year old Lind, my father was, as usual, screaming at my mother after dinner, where alcohol was fully inveighed, According to my sister I went to the bathroom down the hall, awoken from my sleep, and declared to my siblings “Dad is being ferocious!”.

We went to sleep, then drove on to Toronto, to meet the three siblings of my father’s long dead mother. We had dinner at the house of the two spinster Hill sisters. They all talked, smoked, were delighted by the full cow’s tongue entire, that my wide eyes fully scorched upon, especially when the farthest delicate tip was expected carved of its standing glory set upon Greenstein with a side of goggling aspic.

This terror was soon matched by the calm, even, often detached recounting if my father’s 5 years living in Toronto, with his aunts. His uncle Hill was there, two, and at one point he looked at my Dad, and when my father asked why he spent those years, when he was between one and six in Toronto, when his father was in a Brooklyn, his uncle simply said, “We are pretty sure that Lucy (his mom) died while having an abortion. She never wanted to have another child with you Dad.”

Perhaps it was the death of my father’s father the year I was born, or that he was simply a nasty man who buried all three of his wives, but my father returned to Brooklyn at 6 to be reunited with what he thought was his mom, and then have two other siblings. At 16, he cycled home from high school and found his mother, or so he thought, in a game of tears, where she blurted it out that she could not pretend to be his birth mother, that his mom was dead,

I do not think my father knew how his mother died, in the effort to limit her connection to his dad, until that evening in Toronto.

The Hill dusters then went in to add, “Georgie was always wandering off. We could not find him for hours. We came to look for him on the docks in Late Ontario, near our house, and once when we found him, he said ‘I was looking for my Mum.'”

He was the age I was, theme, sitting and listened no with eyes as wide as those looking at the cow tongue.

Why do I remember this?

Why did this happen at all?

Why were the kids there to hear it?

The break pint in a young man’s life, revealed not only to him, at 50, but to his family. The reason he was “ferocious” for the next 27 years. The reason my siblings were who they became, my mother cooed, and I simply watched.

Why did this happen?

After 60 years I can only think, God was opening a life to itself, and now, that life to my life. I came to understand the tragedies, the anger, the damage of a man whose triumphant life after Toronto was only matched by a broken recognition of his own pain, that he avoided with alcohol.

There is no reason in some things. No rational typical truths that make sense. Bringing up devastation so simply, in front of children to a man they must have known was ultimately broken by the simple facts they told, was unnecessary.

An remembering them when maybe five, completely not reasonable.

God is unreasonable, because He is not made by our reason, He just is.

I understand that I do nor understand. Is that enough?

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