(First published in
The Rafu Shimpo on August 24, 2011.)

How is it up there? Was part-way through this visitation when it dawned on me that you people up there know everything about down here before we do. Or something along that line. It makes small talk smaller, but let’s soldier on. Just kind of overlook the repetitions and inconsistencies.

Your dear old dad might be a minor league columnist to some but remains a humbled, overwrought elder trying to find a personal niche.

Well, Rick, it’s been exactly three years now since you left me to join your mother. As we agree beforehand, it was a no-brainer, but still left a painful gap that continues to hurt. Your departure brought about a whole new existence that took an awfully long time to adjust to. Mentally and physically. The greatest impact coming when it became apparent I would be better off leaving your old family abode for a retirement home!

Yup, I made the leap from City Terrace to Boyle Heights. Not exactly Newport or Laguna Beach but you know my aversion to water. If it’s not made into green tea or coffee, put a lid on it. And Keiro, if truth be told, lives up to its name. Let me tell you, it is a place of elderly respect and support, aided and abetted by its all-around Japaneseness. I know it sounds like a xenophobic rant but it is what it is. (Even when awakened at 6:11 this morning announcing linen exchange would be made at 6:30!) There is something about the lilt of the Japanese language that is both soothing and warm. (“Ai-shi-ma-su.” But not so early in the a.m.)

As you can imagine, one of the hardest things to do was telling Linda that her services would no longer be needed. When we hired her after you became bed-ridden, it was a coin flip whether she would fill the bill or not. Well, we got lucky and she worked out great, especially after I informed her that perfume wasn’t allowed in the house. To be sure, she didn’t wash the car, take out the garbage or do the weekly shopping, but everything else was fine and dandy; ironing but no cooking. Through the tears she hoped she was an adequate replacement for you and wished us both well in sayonara. It’s too bad we didn’t have her while your mom was in need of help.

I was going to give you a rundown of numerous passings but remembered you’d be well aware of that activity. But on the other hand, who’s to say they were all fortunate enough to join you all? Guess it would be best to figure they made it. Magnanimity is the password, right?

But it does bring up a question that has bothered me lately. Okay, you’re up there with all of the nicest people in the world, that’s a given: Mom, grandparents, siblings, uncles and aunts, your dad’s circle of friends. Maybe a kind of dumb ??? but how are all of them separated? You know, accounted for and categorized? I don’t want to make light of a serious matter so I guess I’ll just have to find out for myself later. Or? Naw, that ain’t gonna happen, I don’t think.

But nothing’s a slam-dunk these days, that’s for sure. The Lakers, Dodgers and Trojans are also-rans, your mom’s Uclans worse. Although I still prefer powder blue over purple, blue, cardinal and gold when it comes to color.

My world is going to hell in Ella Fitzgerald’s tisket basket: the stock market is in turmoil as is the Mideast; I still wish there was a draft to make patriotism fair and equal; Russ and Jeff’s kids face an uncertain future while Gramps faces the task of coping with yet another hacking episode! Yeah, would you believe someone hacked into my cyberspace, yet again?

I don’t think anyone on my contact list will be taken in by the second “I’ve been mugged overseas” plea for money, but the inconvenience of being off-line since Sunday is a recurring pain in the asset. (Like maybe having to hand-deliver this piece to the Rafu office in Li’l Tokio.) If the world was fair, all the other good people would be hacked for a first time before I came up for seconds, don’t you agree?

Excuse me for bothering you with such earthly nonsense, Rick. It’s just kinda irritating to be a victim these days. You’d think it would be like spreading strawberry jam over a piece of toast, smooth and even. Compounding matters, they ran out of scrambled eggs by the time I arrived at the steam table this morning! I swear conspiracy reigns, or rains. Whatever.

We’ll try to be more informative and fatherly next time, okay? I’ve been told my thoughts are transcribed directly to your mother through prayer, so there’s no need for an intermediary. Nor voicing emotional feeling. I’m glad you’re where you are and deserve to be.

Just kinda cross your fingers and put in a good word for me, okay?



W.T. Wimpy Hiroto can be reached by email. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.





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