Archive for the ‘Dad’ Category

Maybe at least it’s a Jimmy Caravaggio

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

By Tiber 

Dad’s financial woes have come to this. He decided to sell our Caravaggio. (I didn’t show it here).

We’ve had this miraculous original painting since my great-great grandfather bought it in Italy when he took the Grand Tour back in the late 1800’s.

It has always been one of my father’s favorite things – and with good reason. It’s worth a fortune. By the late 1800’s, Caravaggio was almost completely forgotten. Still, my great-great-grandfather knew about him, saw this work and managed to buy it for very little.

Over the years, I’ve sometimes found my father just sitting on a bench, staring at his painting.

It has always given him great pride to have an actual Caravaggio right in his own house. But the need for cash and the value of the artwork could no longer be denied.

So an appraiser was called up. He came by. He looked.

And it’s not a Caravaggio.

What a disaster, not only because the price just plummeted but because it’s not a masterpiece at all. It’s just a picture by some unknown guy.

First, Dad got mad at the appraiser.

Eventually, Dad was just furious with his ancestor.

“Nobody wanted real Caravaggios in the 1800s! They were probably using them as placemats! And our family member has to come home with this?!?”

So Dad didn’t sell it. He was humiliated that it was really worth so little. He was going to throw it out for all I knew.

But late last night, I went downstairs, and there was Dad back in his old spot on the bench, staring at the painting that was back in its place of honor. The room was completely dark, except for the little picture light.

My generation prizes name-brands above everything but my father, correctly, does not. The painting is still a wondrous work.

Yes, the artist was an unknown man, then and forever, but one who labored long hours in daylight and by candlelight to create an extraordinary thing still appreciated today by a man who, rightly, just values beauty.

How to get a head in life

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

By Tiber

A neighbor actually returned something we had lost in the flooding. It was the topiary in a pot that Nestor, our gardener, had trimmed to look like Dad‘s face and head.

 It doesn’t look much like Dad now.

Of course, Dad never recognized himself in it anyway. Afraid that Nestor might be let go in the financial pinch, Mrs. Brunty, our ever-wise housekeeper, had suggested cutting a topiary to look like Dad.

She didn’t think that Dad would recognize himself in it but that he’d fall in love with Nestor’s work because of a subconscious connection to his own head. And then he wouldn’t fire him. And she was right!

Dad is crazy about that topiary, the “art” one, he calls it.

And now, with it so damaged, he was so afraid that Nestor would not be able to remember such an original piece and be able to reproduce his masterpiece exactly.

Nestor, of course, just took another quick look at Dad’s head and has whipped out another one.

We all get a laugh. Dad is thrilled. And I don’t think Nestor will ever be fired now. Even if the house goes.

The Dogtona 500

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

By Tiber 

We’re not even up to the official “dog days of summer” yet but the increasing heat and boredom around here inevitably has led to more dog races.

We actually have a ballroom/picture gallery here in the house on the ground floor. Obviously, we’re not giving any balls these days so the triplets decided this large, empty space would be perfect for the latest running of the Dogtona 500.

God only know what the kids smeared on the bottom of their skateboards but when they took off around the ballroom, the dogs, Cax and Brendan, went crazy with joy, insanely speeding and saliva-spewing right after them.

The noise, of course, soon brought in a furious Dad, who “saved” the dogs from the race and took them back to his study.

I passed by the open door later but the dogs weren’t comfortably napping. Dad was at his training again.

You may remember how Dad once read where the actor Hugh Grant’s father had attempted for years to get their cat to wave back to him.

It never worked.

But ever since then, Dad has periodically tried it with our dogs. He’ll wave at them for hours but, so far, Cax and Brendan have never even raised a paw.

My guess is, though, that they will. It won’t be for a wave, however.

This whole thing has got to be so annoying for them, I fully expect that someday, at least one dog will sigh, roll his eyes, give in, raise that paw, swivel it around and finally shoot Dad the bird.

Ah, quit your yammerin’

Friday, June 17th, 2011

By Tiber

As you know, we have ghosts. Even the pros have said so.

Most of us, nervously, just try to ignore them. Dad, however, gets completely exasperated with them.

When the ghost hunting team was here, they caught an EVP (electronic voice phenomenon of a disembodied voice) that seemed to say the word “accordion.”

My father went crazy and the paranormal team said he could consider getting an exorcism. Dad said if he ever caught a ghost playing an accordion in his house, he’d consider getting a ghost hitman.

Today, the triplets were recording something and they caught an EVP of a disembodied voice that seemed to say the word, “yam.”

Clearly, this ghost has a sense of humor. It would be hard to think of two things Dad hates more than accordions and yams.

The yam part stems from an unfortunate childhood incident where an already yam-hating Dad was offered some “sweet potato pie.” Dad loves pie and he dug in as if his tongue was an industrial front loader.

No one had told him that the delightful sounding “sweet potato” was actually the same thing as the potato’s evil twin! Now even the thought of yams makes him gag.

In reincarnation, some people are doomed to get involved with the same bad spouse. But for reasons we will never understand, Dad may be condemned to share his own house forever with an accordion-playing, yam-gnawing ghost.

Karma can not only be a bitch. Karma can just be weird.

My perfume? It’s Chanel #Pie

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011


By Tiber

Once again, Cook is worried about Dad cutting back on expenses and firing her.

So she’s taken up “wafting” again. She did this before with peach cobbler but this time, it was cherry pie.

She stuck a freshly-baked, hot cherry pie on one of Mrs. Brunty, the housekeeper’s carts and then gave Brunty, the butler, one of her little electric hand fans.

Then she told him to follow Dad around as closely as possible and keep wafting that prized dessert smell in his direction.

Cook thinks this will keep her from being let go when the truth is, Dad already loves her pies so much that if it comes to cutting back, he’ll be much more likely to fire his children first.

Anyway, Dad quickly figured out the pie ruse but he didn’t care.

Brunty later said that Dad ended up following the cart even more than Brunty was following him.

This was true, though it wasn’t all because of the pie. Mom’s still mad at Dad and since she’s the only person on the planet who can scare him, it’s been a lot easier for him to maneuver down the hallways since he could duck-walk behind a large cart.


Wednesday, April 6th, 2011


By Tiber 

My brother, Duncan, was so excited. He said he grabbed all of his ghost-hunting equipment in the middle of the night because he thought he heard one of our ghosts tap-dancing.

I would have had doubts right there. If ghosts do dance, and I sincerely hope that ours do, wouldn’t they still be stuck having to do something slower, like a waltz or at best, maybe a tango through the wall?

I was right, of course. The sound Duncan heard was just Dad, drinking beer and making popcorn in the upstairs kitchen at 3AM so Mom wouldn’t catch him.

Ever since Dad mistook Mom’s fashion designer friend for the race-car driver and then forced him to speed around the property, causing the poor guy to crash into the greenhouse, Dad has been hiding in his room.

Sorry, I mean, “recovering” in his room, quietly and bravely, all on his own.

Duncan said Dad clearly was fine, even after the accident.

Of course, if Mom’s fashion designer friend now becomes too agitated to sketch clothing, Duncan may get his ghost after all. It will be Dad!

Courteous and gentle though she may usually be, we all know that occasionally there are other sounds in the night and those are the ones of Mom expertly and efficiently plotting away on how to kill her husband.

He flies through the air with the greatest of ease

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

By Tiber

My parents have done a lot of charity work, so they know quite a few people.

There’s an actor who has taken up Formula One-style racing in his spare time and when Mom invited a few people over this weekend, Dad waylaid him and asked the actor to drive him around the estate in one of our cars to get some driving tips.

The actor seemed hesitant but Dad kept after him.

So out they went.

First, it was just around the circular drive.

My father didn’t feel they were getting up enough speed, so he egged the guy on. Dad said to rip around the topiaries as an obstacle course but then, coming down the slope, they were soon airborne. Too bad the greenhouse roof got in the way.

There’s some noise for you.

Everybody came running out of the house –  family, staff, guests, even the actor who does Formula One-style racing in his spare time.

That’s right. My father, who no longer really bothers to keep up on who’s who, had waylaid a hot fashion designer my mother knows to speed him around the property and who now sat, horrified, in the driver’s seat, as the car rocked, half in and half out of the greenhouse.

We should have seen this coming. Last year, Dad congratulated an up-and-coming painter on his new cooking show. And he told a famous singer he’d enjoyed her documentary on rats.

Probably as most people get older, they’re not as aware of which famous person is which. The difference is that most people never actually meet them.

Viva Las Vegas, where the saints are marching in

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

By Tiber

You may remember when Cook got angry and threw a pan that made a dent in the floor, Soledad, the kitchen maid, believed the imprint looked like the Virgin Mary. Dad thought it looked more like Ann-Margret in “Viva Las Vegas.”

The image ended up being lost anyway so we never got that far with it.

But now, it’s happened again.

Cook got angry with somebody else and threw a pasta colander at the wall. (Or as she put it to Dad, she was “playing catch with some poor children and she just missed.”) Either way, this time, Soledad thought the watermark it left looked exactly like St. Joseph.

Once again, she wanted to make the kitchen a free place of pilgrimage. But since the Vatican has a gift shop, she felt it would be all right to sell St. Joseph souvenirs.

Unlike Soledad, we’re not Catholic but, obviously, we wanted to be respectful. I couldn’t help but wonder, though, since Joseph was not the “real” father, could you charge as much for his items as you could for a Mary?

Then again, Joseph seems to appear in a lot fewer places so maybe you could charge more just for his rarity.

Predictably, once again, Dad peered at the watermark and said that the imprint looked exactly like Ann-Margret in “Viva Las Vegas.”

Dad has also seen Ann-Margret from “Viva Las Vegas” in his dreams, in cloud formations and in beer foam. Somebody said he was like Jimmy Stewart in that old movie, “Harvey” where Stewart kept seeing a large rabbit that wasn’t there.

At least Dad has upped the crazy in a good way.

If you’re going to constantly be seeing an imaginary friend, it’s a hell of a lot better to have it be  a really hot redhead than simply be a giant hare.