Death, Chinese Food, Professor Fate

It’s been two years since my dad died. It took me the first year to be able to recall him without recalling him as he died. It was a gift the first time I remembered him as something other than bed-ridden and deathly ill.

Yesterday The Great Race was on TCM, and I watched a few minutes. That had been our favorite movie when I was a kid. When we got in an elevator or had to open the garage or ring a doorbell he’d shout, “Push the button, Max!” When he wanted to tell me I’d done something dumb without really scolding me, he’d call me “a thimble-headed gherkin.”

My father was a scientist, and he had a mustache, and he loved Professor Fate.

I couldn’t watch the movie.

Today Green Apple (the bookstore he took me to all the time, back when) happened to post a picture of ducks hanging in the window of a Chinese deli on Clement Street in San Francisco. I grew up a few blocks away, and my father and I often walked down to Clement to eat Chinese. Whenever he came to visit me when I was in college he’d bring a whole Clement-Street care package: duck with buns, steamed bao, those glazed ribs…

He kept that up even when I was in grad school.

It was always too much food, and I always wound up throwing some out.

And you know what he’d say if I ever left food uneaten? He’d say, “You’ll wish you had that later.” Well, today he’s right. Today I wish he’d bring me some Chinese food .

Our relationship was often troubled, and we were often not close. Sometimes I hated him, sometimes I didn’t want to be around him. There were reasons. Today, that doesn’t matter. Today, for what it’s worth, I miss him.



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