I am watching 'Return of the Jedi' on cable. It is six p.m. on New Year's Eve and I am in bed. I have a slight cold and my shih tzu Chewbaca, who looks more Ewok than Wookie, is curled next to me snoring.
I watched 'Return of the Jedi' with my dad at the drive-in thirty years ago. The saga is about a brother and sister and their father.
And my story 'Movie Time', about a childhood trip to the drive-in with my father, was published today in a literary journal.
Everything seems to have come full circle. I am forty and fatherless, but my mom is still here. We have a good relationship. I have come to realize that my mom and dad did the best they could. Our childhood was far from perfect I have to admit, but my parents worked hard to provide for us. My mom waitressed and my dad worked at Mayflower Moving Company. My dad chose the back breaking work of moving furniture over long distance trucking. He didn't want to be away from us girls for long stretches. So instead he picked up dressers and sofas and used his tips to treat us to Pioneer Chicken on Friday nights. We ate the orange fried chicken with one hand while our other hand held our playing cards for our Friday night ritual of a game of rummy.
My mom and dad had uniforms. Those uniforms were as much a part of my childhood as television and fast food. My dad wore a dark green Mayflower moving shirt that was stained in sweat. My mom's uniform was a red Chinese style shirt with black pants. The shirt was stained with oil and soy sauce. My husband and I are lucky we don't wear similar uniforms day in and day out. My husband is a dentist that used to be a mechanic and I am a lawyer who used to waitress.
Our blue collar roots keep us sane and humble. We never let each other forget where we came from.
My mom never learned how to cook. My sisters and I were happy when she did a taco night which equaled ground beef in canned red sauce spooned into store bought taco shells. She was not a very authentic Mexican chef. And neither am I. My sole culinary creation is enchiladas. I tell my husband that I don't cook, I order.
My dad always did the cooking. He cooked for my sisters and I and for my mom. He showed his love through food. We may not have loved his meatloaf as kids but I sometimes crave it as an adult. My husband is similar in that he takes care of me and cooks for me. This afternoon he made pizza and wings and filet mignon is on the menu for dinner.
I have always written. As a young girl I wanted to write the sequel to Rhett and Scarlett's love story. Laura Wilder and Judy Blume were my literary idols. Now, in my forties, I define myself once again as I did as a child, as a writer.
I imagine myself as a kind of writer extraordinaire and my dreams are similar to the protagonist's delusions of grandeur in Judy Blume's novel "Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself".
I picture myself on a stage reading to a quiet audience. They give me a standing ovation.
I shake myself awake. I am dreaming. Of times long past and times to come. The writer, the dreamer, the yearner is back.