Word Count: 478
Papa Was a Rolling Stone
By Peg Scarano
My dad was a piece of work and I loved him from the depths of my soul despite the fact he was
not always a good dad or husband. He was handsome, intelligent and most of all, charming. So
charming, he had the reputation of being a lady’s man. For years, my dad went bowling on
Wednesday nights until my mom discovered he was really striking up a relationship with a
younger woman and no longer had time to spare for her. After spending a lot of time in the
gutter, their relationship finally ended in divorce.
Several years later, my dad starting bowling on Wednesday nights again, but this time he was
meeting my mother on the sly! What a snake in the grass! My dad finally divorced wife #2 and
returned to my mom. I stood up for them when they remarried. You can’t make this stuff up.
When my kids were little, my parents lived in Fort Lauderdale. It wasn’t until Jenny was in high
school that they moved back to Little Falls. They had a lot of practice working on relationships
and they both worked very hard to develop a loving relationship with my children and they
succeeded beyond my hopes and dreams. My lady’s man dad charmed my girls with his quick
wit, bad jokes and winning smile and warm hugs while the girls gave it right back at him. It was
a wonderful thing to watch and there was never enough time.
But sometimes when life is going so well, you are thrown a curve ball. The summer after Jenny
graduated from high school, my dad’s health deteriorated rapidly and he passed away the same
day Jenny left for college. It was bittersweet as it had been difficult for my mom to care for him
and watch him decline so swiftly. His illness attacked him mentally and physically. And, if he
understood what was happening to him, he would have been horrified.
He had planned for cremation so his services were not until a week after he passed. Jenny came
home from college. Julie and Emily, who were 14 and 9 at the time, spent a lot of time with my
mom that week. Their hearts were broken for their Mum and aching for their Pop.
Finally, it was the day of the funeral. We were all gathered at the cemetery for his final
interment and quietly had our heads bowed in prayer. Suddenly, the urn rolled off of its resting
place and started tumbling down the hill. We were all stunned. However, Emily took off at a
run, arms flailing and as she grabbed the urn with her Pop’s ashes she proclaimed, “I’ve got
Pop!” The memory of that moment convinced me my dad wanted us all to know he was not
ready to leave us. His final act of love.