Sunday, April 23, 2006

Johnny_Mango's Sunday Wallpaper: Bite Me

NOB HILL--This week the Duke City Fix celebrated its first anniversary. About one year ago Chantal Foster asked me to attend a meeting with several other local bloggers in the Nob Hill Flying Star. It was a strange meeting by my standards. To start with nobody would let me take their picture. For another, everybody seemed to know everybody...and I didn't know any of them. Also, there was the age thing. And "no," I was not on the young side.

But I was so proud to be asked to write for the Fix. I still am. In honor of that, today's wallpaper is a photo of the cookies Chantal and I took around to several MSM locations. These cookies embody one of the delightful things about Chantal: her sense of humor.

Also, in a more serious vein, the 2nd piece I ever wrote for the Fix was a very personal piece about the motorhome in my backyard. Why I put it up on the DCF I don't know. It seems like it would be better placed my personal space. Maybe I thought it might help somebody. In any case, I am reprinting it here in partly to honor my parents and partly to honor Chantal and the Fix for never saying, "Don't go there."

The Apollo Has Left the Yard
by Johnny_Mango
Category: Around Town
Posted on: 04/05/05

NOB HILL--The last few days and weeks, with Terri Schiavo and the Pope in the news, have made this a time of introspection for many of us.

We are all between generations.

Many of us have been bookmarked between our kids and parents. All together, MaryAnn and I have 5 children; they have all left home. Our folks have all passed on. So, I guess, we are what are called "empty nesters." But that doesn't mean we are done with any of them.

For one thing our basement and garage are crammed with stuff belonging to my kids, her kids, my folks, and her folks -- like the Apollo motorhome that belonged to my parents. The one that has lived in my backyard, unused, for the past 15 years.

Letting go of what was our folks is the most difficult of all.

Somewhat like the Terri Schiavo situation, my father ended up on a ventilator, alive but, the doctor told me, brain-dead. I was left to make the decision. My mom had dementia. The doctor looked to me.

I let him go.

I can't begin to talk about it. Let me just say I didn't cut my hair for over 2 years and wore the same old orange camoflage hunting jacket for a similar length of time. Call it The Catcher in the Rye syndrome. I had tried to catch my dad...but I couldn't. I just couldn't help him.

Well, the Apollo motorhome is part of that. It belonged to my folks. I only used it once in 15 years, but I couldn't get rid of it. Oh, I could rationalize why it was still there, taking up a sizable portion of my back yard. How it ruled over a kingdom of backyards. How no one loved it except the backyard dreamer. But deep inside, I knew that someday I had to let it go.

John Henning, a friend, saw it...and wanted it. I gave it to him. I am so happy to see them go down the alley together. Go in peace...finally...and from the bottom of my heart...go in peace.


Anonymous said...

Not cutting your hair sounds like a spiritual Amerindian thing... Marks a spiritual point in the life...

Just returned from N.M. to NYC and was surprised that no one in Alb. was blogging about the Tricentennial... I thought it was pretty awesome but I love NM anyway.

Cheers! Hattie at

peg said...

Johnny - This is a very moving piece. I can't imagine what you went through having to make that decision for your father. It sounds like it was the best decision, the only decision, but still...what a thing for a child to have to do for their parent. Even a grownup child like you. I haven't been in that situation myself yet, and perhaps I won't. If I do, may I borrow the orange camo jacket?

Thanks for sharing that. Really nice stuff.


chantal said...

Hey Johnny,

Ah... I remember that piece well. And I was remember being very honored that you shared it on Duke City Fix.

Thanks for all the kind words and all the memories. It's been such a fascinating trip, hasn't it?