Last night, I had the wonderful pleasure of having dinner with my sister and my father. An evening out with them is exceptionally rare, as my father seldomly leaves the house. Despite being in his forties, he sometimes acts as if he's in his sixties. His excuse for the surprise adventure stemmed from his winning a GPS in the state lottery (my father has tiny gambling problem he inherited from his grandmother) and his curiosity of my sister's residence. Previously, she lived in Florida, so her return to New England has prompted dad to worry out loud, after all, she's the baby (affectionately, I'm the half pint). We ate a lovely meal at Sunshine's place of employment and lingered for a bit since it was an occasion. We listened intently to notre père talk about work, his current investments (I picked), which inevitably would be our inheritance (jokingly he loves to tell us this), and the local happenings. When the check finally came, he whipped out his old wallet to pay the bill. I noticed he was in dire need of a replacement and commented on the one we bought him years ago. He said he actually had two brand new wallets still in the boxes, but he didn't use them because neither had a place for his pictures. Just as I did when I was a child, I gingerly picked up the worn leather contraption and fumbled through it. He always lets us play with his wallet. I was unable to pull the pictures out so he took the wallet back to extract a plastic fold from the deepest pocket. He held open the yellowed sheath to show us what mysterious treasures he had. The first photo was the best picture of my mother: She's wearing a teal and black polka dotted dress with matching greenish eyes and a glowing smile. I can still see the picture despite it being nowhere in sight. The next three pictures were of Sunshine. The fourth picture was of me, which was followed by a fifth picture of my sister. I vocalized my chagrin at only having one picture to my sister's four when my dad flipped the plastic over and a small fortune from a Chinese cookie fell out from behind my portrait. He smiled and said it was from our family dinner* at my college graduation. Then, he rotated the fortune over to show the numbers on the backside proclaiming proudly that they were his lucky lottery numbers. I humbly smiled and decided I could do without the other three photos. We finished up our conversation and made pleasantries with my sister's friends, after which the three of us gathered our things to head over to my sister's house.
Sunshine escorted us to her chateau where we settled on the bed and recliners in her room. Dad told us stories and we updated him on the recent events in our lives. We laughed and chatted for a while until notre père sadly declared it was time for him to leave. Walking out together, Sunshine and I made our usual secret language conversation, into which my father chimed using "the voice" that made us laugh hysterically in the drive way. He's the only person allowed to use our language and it's so funny when he does. I love it. We hugged and kissed bye and were very happy to hear dad say he'd come back again next Tuesday, only we'd go to the movies as well. Once again, we were little girls eagerly giggling at daddy's feet.
As I was walking to my car, my dad said, "Don't forget to buy a lottery ticket Friday."
I chuckled and retorted, "I'll try."
He responded, "I'll call to remind you."
I could not help but feel delightful and remorseful all at once as I drove away...
a la prochaine
*Margaret Quo's ~ probably the best gourmet Chinese food EVER.