Anyhow, my mother did the requisite cooking ahead of time, leaving us with Tupperware containers with spaghetti sauce and who knows what else. I don't believe that other than K rations, my father had ever done more than make himself a ham sandwich, so my mother's efforts were hugely wasted.
At that time, my favorite restaurant in the world was McDonald's. Even though my mother tried to convince me that the hamburgers were possibly made from kangaroo meat, there was nothing better in my little world than a good little hamburger with those onions sprinkled all over and a good smear of ketchup too. She would moan and roll her eyes every time I asked for McDonald's and just keep driving past, leaving me in the back seat of the car to fog my window up with my unrequited love for the dry little hamburgers.
But not my dad. He just wanted his little girl to be happy. And so every night that week, we sat outside of the Hackettstown McDonald's at the concrete tables and he had a Big Mac and I had my Happy Meal. And at the end, we always had sundaes. He would have a hot fudge sundae, and mine was strawberry. We would sit in silence, savoring not only the sweetness of the sundaes but the forbidden fruit that my mother would surely disapprove of.
"This is going to be our little secret, okay?" he grinned at me. "Don't tell your mother."
I'm not exactly sure what my mother said when she came home to find all of the Tupperware containers untouched.
Fast forward to three years ago. My dad took Monkey Man somewhere in his white minivan that we have affectionately dubbed The Turtle. Later on that afternoon, they came back and I noticed Monkey Man carrying two small motorcycles.
"I'm not supposed to tell you about these. Grandpa got them for me from Toys R Us," he admitted sheepishly.
Some things never change. Not that I'm complaining.
Every time I call my mother, it's something else. On Sunday, while my sister was visiting, Dad fell out of his chair in Sunday School and scared the bejeezus out of everyone there.
I feel the days slipping away.