I had just had hot water from the bathtub tap run onto my 6-year old skin. I was bathing with Dorothy, the doer of this deed. She chimed, “If your skin turns red, you’re going to die”. Of course, my skin turned red. So, I was gonna die which was bad. Then she added, “and you will never see Mom and Dad again”. Tears welled up but didn’t drop. For someone just condemned to death, I was holding up pretty well. But then she ratcheted it up,
“And you will never eat maple candies again.” Hysterical sobs, the kind where you can’t breath.
Here’s the weird part, I really don’t remember loving maple candies. I really think it had something to do with my relationship with my dad.
He worked out of town most of my early years. When he did come home, everything shifted and home got interesting. Meals changed. And there would be maple candies. I knew having Dad in the house completed us even though I didn’t know him well and was actually a little afraid of him.
I wasn’t the only one a little mystified by him. On one occasion Rebekah and Dorothy made me go downstairs and ask, “Dad, what does shit mean?” I was probably 5 which made them 7 and 8. I did it. I knew it was something of a dare even at that age. But I wanted to know what shit meant. I suspect Dorothy and Rebekah wanted to see how deep shit could get. None of us remember exactly what happened after that.
My dad’s now 91. Most of us live nearby and not one of us is afraid of him. He asked me why I keep coming back to Paris. I really didn’t have an answer. But now I do.
I come here once a year and my life gets more interesting. My meals change. And, yes, I am a little afraid of Paris. Sometimes I even have to ask what shit means.
Paris is Maple Candy.
Dad, I love you. Also, Dorothy and Rebekah made me do it.