Sometimes you have to hit your father over the head.
|Bo Shechter could walk the Chicago Northwestern line from the Windy City all the way out to Woodstock, he was sure of it.
“Come on, Dad,” said Calvin. “Be serious.” It was his Monday afternoon visit.
“I’ve pounded plenty of rails,” Bo answered, coming down on Calvin like a sledge hammer on the head of a cut spike. “Eight hours, ten or twelve if we were under the gun. So I can sure as hell walk anywhere.”
“You were young, Dad,” Calvin reasoned. “Fifty years ago. More. Besides, didn’t they develop machines to lay track while you were still working?”
“Spiking carriages,” Bo spat. “Put a lot of us out of work.”
“Well, you worked for years after that, Dad. Now you can’t walk down the block, much less pound a spike. Come on, the technology is great these days. In Monday, out Thursday. New hip. Walking in a week.”
“Nope,” said Bo. “Forget it. Heading out for a stroll.” Always has to make his point, thought Calvin, watching his father limp out the door and tilt sideways down the street.
On Wednesday, Calvin brought an article from Parade, about the miracle of modern hip replacement. “Get that out of here,” shot Bo. “Wait a minute. Is that this week’s? Any recipes in there?” Calvin had to hand it to him. His father could cook, standing. But he couldn’t walk to the store.
Friday, Calvin brought something else, held it out to his father. Heavy, rusted. It looked like a railroad spike. “What the hell is that?” asked Bo.
“Hip rod,” said Calvin. “They took it out of the ashes when they cremated my friend Sip’s mother. She was 98.” Calvin couldn’t imagine such a thing inside him.
“I’ve never seen one of those before,” said Bo. “Make the appointment.”
(Word count: 300)