50. Postcards From the Edge

May 8, 2011

Shannon was the first to receive a package from Dad, a Brothers Grimm book for my niece.  She was rattled because she had no idea how Dad even knew where she lived.  We eventually figured out that he found out from my aunt when he stopped in there on New Year’s.  There’s always another motive.  His first was to needle Mom.  His second was to fish for information on the family.  My aunt probably showed him Shannon’s Christmas card and he copied down the return address.  Meanwhile, the package he sent Shannon had a made-up return address on it, which was odd to say the least.

The following month my mother found a piece of paper stuck under her windshield.  It had been left overnight while it was parked in the driveway.  It was a picture of two gorillas hugging or fighting, and someone scribbled “our relationship is like these two – Happy Valentine’s Day.”  It wasn’t signed but it looked suspiciously like Dad writing with a disguised hand.

I heard from Kathleen that Dad went down to New Orleans for a few weeks to  work with Habitat for Humanity, and he sent postcards in his absence.  Mom received a couple, addressed to her maiden name.  Then she received one with her married name, except that Dad wrote it like Susie M e _ _ _ _.  What is this – Hangman or Wheel of Fortune?  Mom showed it to me and neither one of us could make sense of it.

A week later I got into my car to make a night run to the store.  I was almost to the end of the block when I noticed something like marbles rolling around on my windshield.  What the hell…?  I pulled off to the side of the road and got out for a better look.  There were Mardi Gras beads all over my car.  They were wrapped around the windshield wipers, hanging out of the grille, and dangling from the side mirror and antenna.  Later on I even found them around the gas cap.

At first I thought I was the victim of a prank by some neighborhood kids.  Then it dawned on me: Mardi Gras… New Orleans… Dad was back in town, and he did one of his hit-and-runs to let me know.  This was his MO.  Like Shannon, we had all gone to great lengths to hide our addresses from him.  We had no idea how he discovered where the rest of us where, but he delighted in sending mail and another annoying little things to rub the fact that he knew in our faces.

I was livid when I had gotten my first note, but this completely incensed me.  I snatched all the beads off the car, drove past his house, and winged them at the windshield of his truck.  When I got back home I saw that I’d missed the string hanging from the mailbox, and I yanked them off with a violence that snapped it and sent beads flying everywhere.  The next day I received a voicemail in response to the birthday card I’d mailed him.  “Hey, thanks for the card.  I just got back home yesterday…as you well know!” And then he cackled.

But that was nothing compared to Mom’s trip to cemetery.  My mother’s parents were buried there, and Mom and Dad bought the plot right next to theirs.  Dad always wanted to put the headstone in the ground so he could see what it looked like while he was still alive, but Mom nixed that idea.  Well, she noticed that he finally went ahead and did it.  And not only that but her name was spelled wrong.  What’s more, there was a piece of paper in a Ziploc bag, taped to her parents’ headstone.  This it what it said:

President B. Hussein Obama
On being named
“Man of the Year Century”
By the Ku Klux Klan.
You support Planned Parenthood
With United States tax money.
Planned Parenthood kills more black
Babies in the womb than
White babies in the womb
As a percentage of the
United States population.

Dad showed me a whole stack of these flyers once, telling me how he’d driven to all the black churches in the area and put these on the windshields of parishioners’s cars. It wasn’t until I flipped it over that I noticed traces of pen on the back.   Apparently he didn’t have anything better to write on when he was at the cemetery, so he used one of the flyers.  it must have been raining when he left it there, because the bag was soaking wet and the ink had run off, but after several minutes of squinting and twisting and turning it under the kitchen light, I finally made out what it said:

“Susie, I love you. I forgive you for not forgiving me.”  Mom was even more upset when I told her what was written on the back.  Stupid.  I shouldn’t have said anything.  Dude is completely mental.  The next day I went over to look the headstone myself, and I got a weird feeling looking down at it, like they were already under my feet.  I turned to go and saw a family of deer watching me, giving me a look which I returned with interest since one of them was white with spots.  I’d never seen one like that before.

Then I stopped by the house to see Dad for the first time in over five months, and it was thankfully an uneventful visit. He did make a remark and when he and Mom were dating  she used to leave pictures and notes on his car, so he “learned from a professional.”  Therefore he didn’t there was anything wrong with his drive-by notes and packages.  He thought it was cute, not creepy.  Whatever you say Dad.  Sicko.  Maybe he really was sick, because when I called to tell him I was coming over he said, “Yes, you can come over, but I might be dead before you get here. So remember to bring my favorite flowers – pansies.”

I should have asked him how he got the Mardi Gras beads in the first place.  That alone was interesting.  Was Dad involved in scandalous activities while in New Orleans?  It would be hot shit if it had something to do with women flashing their tits at him, especially after he raised hell that time he saw an Opie and Anthony “WOW” bumper sticker on my Patrick’s car.  For those of you who don’t know, Opie and Anthony are a shock jock radio duo in the vein of Howard Stern.  In addition to promoting their show, WOW stood for Whip ’em Out Wednesdays.  Women were supposed to flash guys on the highway if they saw the sticker.  “Do you think it’s okay to disrespect your mother and sisters like that?” he roared.  “Do you think it’s okay for men to ask them to go like – this! – and bare their breasts?”  Dad pulled his shirt up to his chin and wiggled his beer gut in Patrick’s face.  I left the room before I lapsed into hysterics.  Patrick finally went out and scraped the sticker off his car to shut Dad up.


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