My father sat in his black leather armchair after supper and wrote in his notebook. The varnish on the wooden arms was worn off from him resting his arms on them when he wrote. No one else sat in his chair. Ever.
His chair was beside the television set. The television was on.
My mother and I sat on the sofa facing the television and my brother sat in another armchair facing my father. We each had our own tv tray. The trays were lining up beside the kitchen before dinner was served, and each place setting was set on a tray. When the food was served, I carried my father’s tv tray to him.
Supper was served at exactly five o’clock, every night. The television was on.
He always wanted salt and pepper on his tray, and pickles.
He would ask, “Where are the pickles?”
We always forgot the pickles. Then my brother would have to go and get a jar of his mother’s home-made pickles from the basement and give him one.
My father lit his pipe when the meal was over. His notebook was on a table beside his chair.
My brother and I carried the five tv trays from the living room to the kitchen and carried all the dishes to the sink. My mother washed the dishes, and my brother and I dried the dishes.
While we were in the kitchen, my father sat in his chair and wrote poetry. His poems were numbered, each day had an entry, #42 and then #43, until he filled the book. The television was on.
When my father’s poems were written in rhyming couplets, my poetry was written in rhyming couplets.
When he started to write in free verse, my poetry was written in free verse.
When he started to write stories about his life, I wrote stories about my life.
My father died on March 18, 1998.
When my father died, his words died.
My step-mother sold my father’s chair at a yard sale. She gave me his pipe.
The pickles I eat are bought at the grocery store. I eat dinner, not supper, at the kitchen table with my husband and three children. We don’t own tv trays. We don’t eat at the same time every night. The television is turned off.
I write in the morning, not in the evening. My black office chair has 5 wheels. I sit at a table and type on a computer, not in a notebook. I write stories about my life.
I don’t smoke a pipe.
My father’s pipe is on the table beside my computer.
The television is turned off.
My father was a writer.
I am a writer.