Sweetie’s Dad

Sweetie came back home on Thursday night, and I feel human again. While I enjoy and need a certain amount of alone time, this unexpected, frantic takeoff and separation during this time of Sweetie’s grieving was very hard on both of us. We’re so relieved to be back together, and at the same time we’re so grateful that she got to go and be with her family – that they all came together from all over the world to attend their father’s funeral. It was the first time the siblings had all been in one place in years, and aside from the grieving, it was really nice.

I met Kat’s Dad only a handful of times. Kat’s childhood friends (Awesome Josh included) had only nice things to say about Mr. Cunningham. “I never saw him unhappy. He was always laughing or smiling.” This seemed to be the sentiment all over facebook too.

Sweetie’s Dad loved to fly. Last week on the stressful Friday afternoon of her unexpected departure, she was nervously strapped into the little 8-seater airplane as it idled, engines running, on the tarmac for 40 minutes. The smell of fuel tweaked her anxiety; the abysmal weather did not help either.

Oh my god, the cabin is filling with exhaust and we’re all going to die of carbon-monoxide poisoning. Or the wind will blow us into the ocean. Or we’ll drop mid-air and the pilot will lose control. We are all going to die!

Right as Sweetie was spiraling into her own panic meltdown, she felt her Dad beside her, and felt him squeeze her arm in an assertive, fatherly way.

Kathy-Ann, listen to me. Nothing bad is going to happen. You are safe, I promise you.

He then proceeded to chatter to her about how cool the airplane was, explaining all the reasons why she was safe and how the airplane worked. None of it was particularly clear to Sweetie, given her state of mind, but she felt deeply comforted.

It’s amazing what they do for us.

On the evening Sweetie returned to our house, we spent the night talking about her Dad – and he showed up again.

Pegging! Pegging! Ha ha! I understand why that’s funny now!

This goes back to our first visit to Sweetie’s brother’s cottage when her parents attempted to teach us to play cribbage.

Sweetie’s mother is an energetic, animated woman who would embellish her husband’s instructions with her own explanations. As Fred was trying to explain a particular rule of the game, his wife continuously interjected with the accepted nomenclature:

It’s called pegging! PEGGING!!!

Sweetie and I were nearly on the floor pissing ourselves with laughter, because “pegging” to us, in our generation, means something quite different than it does to our parents’ generation. Of course we didn’t want to explain this dirty alternate interpretation to this serious cribbage lesson, so we did our best to suppress our giggles.

But Fred knew something was up.

For five years, whenever either of us needs a laugh, the other might shout, “PEGGING!”

Now Sweetie’s Dad is finally in on the joke.

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