Knowing I had to sit in a hospital waiting room with my father gave me trepidations. I wasn't sure if I could hold his attention and convince him to stay with me while my mother went through a battery of tests. We rotated the only two magazines I could forage and then asked him to select his favorite autumn foliage and New England bird featured in Yankee magazine. That routine wasn't going to cut it.
Like two explorers on an adventure, we took a tour of the hospital's first floor in search of a restroom and water fountain. When we returned to the waiting area Dad fixated on the lovely middle-aged receptionist in view. He eyed her like a fox and then turned to me, his new buddy, and said, "if I went over there and asked her for her phone number, I think she'd go out with me."
I almost choked on the absurdity of a father confiding his most basic intentions to his daughter. Of course, he hasn't recognized me in years. Without bruising his manhood, I assured him of his manly magnetism but reminded him that he couldn't take action because MOM was in the examination room.
As he made micro-motions to approach his new interest, I reminded him that he should stay put and making offering of a protein bar and my only bottle of water to distract him.
It is clear that in the twilight of his consciousness, women, especially lovely ladies in nursing uniforms, breath life into him. Yes, our roles have changed in the last ten years. Today I can acknowledge the wild fox in him and the light it brings to his dimming nature; and can see myself not so much as his daughter but as his co-conspirator.