I went to the funeral of a family friend on Saturday. My grandmother was shaking at the service, and I couldn’t really do much except put my hand on her shoulder.
Afterwards, we passed by my grandparents’ old house. It looked all wrong. When my brother and I used to visit them for the weekend, I would gape at the white columns as we drove up to it. As soon as I walked through the door, I would inhale as deeply and as frequently as I could. My mom now says the entryway smelled like gardening supplies, but she was recalling some other house, because the entryway I was in smelled like wine and fancy soap. Every time I went to the bathroom, I would sit on the sink counter and open my grandmother’s perfume bottles one by one, taking in each fragrance in turn. There were satin sheets on the beds, a marble statue in the dining room, and a hot tub on the porch. It was a palace.
Now the columns have been repainted a tan color, some of the greenery is gone, and I could see Magic Marker doodles taped to the window where the dining room used to be. It was like that scene in The Odyssey where Odysseus and Telemachus come home to Ithaca to find their home overrun by the suitors, except there were no asshole suitors, just the doodles and a white truck in the driveway. I wasn’t attack-them-and-win-Penelope mad, but I was indignant. What are these people doing here?
On the drive home, I made an interesting discovery. My dad’s name is Gordon, and every time we pass a Gordon Lane or Gordon Road, he raises his eyebrows, tap the windows, and says something about how famous he is. So this Saturday, as we passed Gordon Drive in Lebanon, Tennessee, where he used to live, I assumed he was just kidding when he said the street was named after him. But no. His grandfather had bought and developed land in the area, and asked my dad if he wanted a street named after him. Then BOOM. Gordon Drive. This is one of my favorite dad moments thus far. Nothing was as I thought this week. ♦