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Marc Dion
Marc Dion
20 Apr 2015
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Going Home

Comment

When I have trouble falling asleep because the day has been hard, I lie on my back, close my eyes and go home.

I go back to a rented two-story white house in a small New England manufacturing city in 1964 and my parents and my grandmother and a great-hearted boxer dog named Joey. I eat the bread and butter with molasses my grandmother made me as an after-school snack, and I watch television with my head on Joey's stomach.

I walk to Mac's variety store with my father, who buys a newspaper while I choose penny candy. I kneel again before the huge crucifix in church, and my mother takes me to the grocery store with her on Friday night, because back then the whole world got paid on Friday night. She takes me for a hot dog after we're done. In those days, in New England, they always used flat-sided buns and they grilled both sides. On a griddle. After brushing them with butter.

We were working-class people. My father was a bartender. My mother worked in a bank. Sometimes, they worried about the electric bill. The richest man my father knew made $10,000 a year.

I have, of course, lost that simple childish happiness, but I visit it when I can't live the life I have, just for a little, just until I fall asleep.

I have a friend in a nursing home, a friend much older than I am and he has ceased to make sense sometimes.

His two sisters are dead, and his parents, and the only woman he ever loved.

They feed him well enough and his room is clean and he is reasonably healthy, though dreadfully thin. They bring him his pills and listen to his heart, which continues to work like a well-made reliable engine.

He doesn't know his sisters are dead, not anymore, and he knows that the only woman he ever loved will come visit tomorrow, and he says when he gets out he will go see his parents and a much-loved aunt.

When I visit him, he knows me, at least most of the time, and we talk about the weather and what he had for lunch, and I am very careful not to correct him when he speaks of things that aren't there anymore. It would be cruel.

He's going where I go just before I fall asleep, though he's going to stay there longer than I've stayed so far.

The long loss of life's strength is an awful thing. So is death. But the luckiest of us have already been in heaven as loved children, as happy wives, as loving fathers.

And we go back. One way or another, we go back.

To find out more about Marc Munroe Dion and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com. Dion's latest book "Volume I," a collection of Dion's 2014 columns, is available for Nook and Kindle.

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Comments

2 Comments | Post Comment
Beautiful piece. Thank you!
Comment: #1
Posted by: cindynegley
Fri Apr 24, 2015 6:07 AM
What a tender and beautiful essay. I don't usually agree with Mr. Dion's political views, but expressions like this make us seem more alike than not.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Maggie Lawrence
Tue Apr 28, 2015 6:10 AM
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