“C’mon MAK. Let’s go for a ride.”
“Where are you taking her?” My mom was angry at me again for something.
“There’s a record at the music store I want to look at, Helen. C’mon, MAK. Get your coat.”
I put on my ski jacket. It was the early 60s, I was 14, and the jacket was pure — and new — fashion. It was reversible. One side a flowery pattern in mostly orange, the other side — the usual side for me — black because I didn’t like orange.
“Listen, MAK,” my dad said turning the key in the ignition. “Stay away from your mom when she’s been drinking. Some people are funny when they’ve been drinking. Some people are mean. Your mom’s mean. When she’s like that, just get away.”
We backed out of the driveway.
What was he talking about? I was already living in the disconnect a lot of kids of an alcoholic parent live in. But from then on I took my dad’s advice and got out when the fireworks began.
In the wings of our lives was a move from Nebraska back to Colorado, my dad’s soon-to-be-rapid physical decline from Multiple Sclerosis, my family’s disintegration. That night we stood in the neon-lit music store in Bellevue, Nebraska and bought an album, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. Most of my generation knows this one, grew up with this one, but one song was particularly important to my dad.