Saturday, August 30, 2008

My dad was ailing and yet he was driving somewhere with my brother and me in the car. At a certain point he became incapacitated - not exactly unconscious, but suddenly unable to operate the car. I reached over from the back seat and did my best to steer us to safety, asking my brother to step on the brakes. We managed to pull off the road into a strip mall parking lot in our old hometown, Storrs, Connecticut.

We were indoors suddenly, with other people around us. My dad was slipping in and out of some kind of trance-like, near-death state. Someone asked him, "What's teap?"

"It's peach-flavored tea," he replied authoritatively. I viewed this as a sign that his mental faculties were still strong.

Then he began to describe a fancy dish he'd had, or seen, or was anticipating eating, which consisted of five kinds of small shellfish impaled on the spokes of a kind of radiating fork. He called this dish the "hand of god." My sister-in-law Amy was there and immediately corrected him, saying that in fact "the hand of god" was a phrase used to describe a controversial soccer goal scored by the Argentine player Diego Maradona in the 1986 World Cup against England, in which he deflected a ball into the goal with his hand.