Thursday, July 29, 2010
I can't sleep-the well of dreams is dry and so I will tell you a story about how love and marriage always ends up with the husband wearing a loaner toupee. A young friend is visiting Julia and I was thinking of her grandfather who she never met. Something we have in common. My grandfather passed away the same year I was born--but I didn't take it personally. Her grandfather, Peter, was a rare gem. He worked for the railroad in New York and had a late in life cushy job riding around in a little yellow truck. He would visit my store in the morning to partake of our coffee pot. I love coffee, I love pots and when you put the two together you have a coffee pot. The aroma seeping out of the spout, the death rattle gurgle of the dark beans clinging to life... until silence. a silence that comes to us all. Except no one is going to put you or me into a cup and add cream and sugar. But I digress. Peter would turn up the work radio on his truck in case their was a problem on the tracks and park in back of our store. We would keep the double doors open so he could listen with one ear and carry on a conversation with the other. He wore a jump suit. A man over sixty should never wear a jump suit--it looks like a giant diaper. Peter, as long as I knew him always wore a toupee. It was a very nice toupee. I was quite fond of that toupee and so was the staff at the furniture store. We would pleasantly waste a good hour drinking coffee and admiring his toupee-sometimes he would let us touch it. Then he would be off to mysterious destinations until the next day. I would miss that toupee--some days more than I missed Peter--although I never told him lest I hurt his feelings. One day Peter's truck pulled up in back of the store and we heard the chatter of his radio competing with our coffee pot. I was expecting an unchanging universe but oh how I was wrong. In walked Peter with a blond toupee. If he walked in sobbing his eyes out and asking God to end his embarrassment it would not have been funny, but he walked in, filled a cup with recently deceased coffee added cream and sugar and acted like it was yesterday. We tried, we really tried. Alice in the office tried so hard when she saw him that her face turned bright red and a trickle of blood rolled down her ear lobe, but the dam burst and laughter drowned out the truck radio and the coffee pot and the war in Vietnam. There was beloved Peter, a man who deserved better-looking hopeless, helpless, who never had a chance. He told us a sad tale. His long time toupee (a personal friend of mine) had begun to show wear and tear (so what! You don't potato sack the family cat in the Hudson river because he has a bald patch on his ass). His long time wife 9 who wore a wig) had brought his toupee to the shop for repairs ( who knew!)and they had given her a loaner toupee for Peter who had lost his will years ago sometime in the third decade of marriage. I miss Peter-- he died too young at heart. I miss his big diaper jump suit, his little yellow truck and his chattering radio. He was so blissfully happy that he wore a blond loaner toupee and couldn't care less. Peter may be gone, but his toupee lives on now worn by an ex-nun in Baltimore--but that's an another story for a sleepless night when the well of dreams runs dry.