Brenda said I seemed calm when my father called with bad news from the doctor. She would be a basket case, she said.
Still, the phone probably did not deserve getting sworn at and slammed repeatedly when I couldn't get a dial tone out to him the next day.
This would be the perfect time to organize my brothers and sisters so we all drop in every few weeks for some quiet time with Dad. But I did not, and everyone else decided independently to descend on him for President's Day.
My sister-in-law quizzed me about my jazz interests after borrowing the Ken Burns PBS documentary, and I realized how much I've inherited Dad's jazz interests--Dixieland, Duke Ellington, Stan Getz, Wes Montgomery, even Coltrane. I don't hear my father's voice in my brothers as much as his hesitation, a hint of his wariness at crowds and hubbub. Somehow he has survived despite us.