Dad was born on St. Patty's day. His family was thoroughly Hungarian, not an ounce of Irish blood among them, but they seldom needed an excuse to eat and drink to excess. It must've been an omen. Dad treated most of life like a Holiday and rarely missed a chance to belly up to a table or a bar.
Most of my favorite memories with dad were made during a meal, somewhere. I suppose the same can be said for some of my worst memories, too. Something about sitting down at a table seemed to amplify his truest self.
When we sat down at a table together, for better or worse, we attended the ritual of being family, and somehow this made it so.
Mostly I think of dimly lit Italian restaurants, the smell of garlic hanging like a spirit in the air, and dad ordering Chianti in a weird accent, insisting despite the confusion of the wait staff, that he was pronouncing it authentically.
This habit generally led to a discussion. Why, after the fiftieth time one of us tried and failed to make him quit, we continued to press the issue, I don't know. But the conversation usually disintegrated quickly, us arriving promptly at his awkward attempts to say "Karate" and almost always ended with firmly swearing we would never go to Starbucks with him again, because he was determined to say "Macchiato" as if it were a sneeze. Maa-Kyaaa...tow
To this day, there are quite a few words that I encounter during regular life that cause my eye to twitch, like Inspector Dreyfuss from The Pink Panther.
Eventually, I determined that he clung to these habits which annoyed me so, because he knew I was too stubborn to let go. In some way, he knew it meant there were parts of him I would always respond to, even after I began to turn to stone. He knew he could find me in there again, if he just casually threw out the word karate.
After six months away, I've finally picked the memoir back up. It seemed like the right time. Actually, January seemed like the right time, but then priorities changed. So here we are again. Back to A.I.S. to revising, writing and editing.