Tuesday, May 4, 2010

D Day Minus 229, July 22, 2009 (Part 3)

“Son of a bee.” Dad cried when he pinched his finger extending the kitchen table leaf so we had some room to eat.

“You all right, Dad?”  You asked, centering the huge platter from Famous Dave’s BBQ on the kitchen table.  Dad shook his hand so it would stop stinging and said something like, “I’ll Live.”  You sat and waited for Dad to recover so you could eat, while I pilfered a corn muffin and some potato wedges.

“I thought Katie was coming.” I said as I bit into a potato wedge.  You turned around and looked out the window for signs of Katie and shrugged your shoulders. “She's probably sleeping. She has another overnight shift tonight.” You smiled, I’m sure you were thinking about how magical the day had been – Katie was really back in your life.  You got the job at Wegmans with your own insurance.

“Eat Turkeyman,” Dad said in his usual faux annoyed voice as he piled his plate with brisket.  You bit into a piece of Texas Toast like you hadn’t eaten in days.  In reality you had just finished a bagel a couple of hours ago.

“Dad, when are you going to make some of your brisket?” You asked, scooping brisket on to your plate. “You should open your own place.  That would be awesome.”  You took your first bite of brisket chewed a few bites and commented. “Dave’s isn’t as good as Pigs-R-Us.”  I added. “I love Pigs R Us hush puppies.”

You and Dad debated the merits of each places BBQ and the possibility of starting a BBQ shack.  You even came up with some stupid names for restaurants, but I forgot them around the time the two of started talking about the impending treatment and trip to Houston.  I chimed in, ‘Yeah, that way I can make reservations.” I only said it twice, but thought it at least a hundred times.  I would've pushed the issue, but you and Dad were going round and round again about whether TIL and surgery was an option.  I kept thinking – just ask the doctor yourself Jeff – to the point my head started pounding.

I asked, “What are your concerns about biochemo – Greg?”

“Losing my hair.” I knew you meant it. You loved your hair.  So far none of the treatments made you lose it.  It was coarse and a little thinner and wasn’t as red as it used to be. “Especially my eyebrows." You said. "I don’t want to look like a ghost.”  You rubbed your eyebrows.  I think you were checking to make sure they were still there.

“I’ll buy you a mullet wig.” I thought of your crazy mullet run and broke a smile.  You laughed a little.  Dad grabbed his laptop and started to write an email to Dr. P. while you looked over his shoulder.   I grabbed my water bottle and hid in the dining room and took three motrin.

“I’ll be in the basement doing yoga with Bryan Kest.” My head stopped pounding about the time I finished my fourth vinyasa. When I got to my seated work, I inhaled, looked to my right, and did the best seated spinal twist I could.  And thought wouldn’t it be nice – really nice – if we could do treatment in Virginia.


  1. Greg always wanted Jeff to open a BBQ place, but knew the hours would be horrible. He had fun talking about it though :)

  2. I remember Greg standing at our kitchen counter talking to me on the couch. I recall vividly how he looked so peaceful and his face was flushed giving him a healty appearance. I took a picture of him in my mind right there. I had no idea at that time it would be the very last time I saw him. He wonderful red hair looked great and he was happy. I am thankful for that moment and for the inspiration to treasure it. I still see him like that now. It's a gift I treasure.