On Cheers, the older bartender, Coach, is standing behind the bar. As he goes into his office, Sam says to Coach, “If anyone calls, Coach, I don’t want to be bothered,” to which Coach replies, “Who does?”
My father used to love Cheers. He’d quote that line to me when I’d drop by and it became kind of a call and response code for “Glad to see you” or “I love you but can’t say it since I’m a research scientist and I don’t do emotions that often.”
Dad: So Ruth, if anyone calls, I don’t want to be bothered.
Me: Who does, Dad?
On the day that my Dad passed away in August, 1999, I was at work and my mother called to say she was worried. Dad wasn’t responding when she spoke to him. I rushed over to the house and as I walked in, I didn’t see anyone right away but I heard a strange noise, so I followed it into the kitchen. There was a very plump bumblebee, sputtering and jerking forward suddenly as if it was new to this bee-body vehicle. It made buzzing noises on and off and seemed to be flying in slow motion. I sat down at the table. The bee hovered a few feet away from me. We just looked at each other. Finally, I opened the screen on the window and the bee flew out.
Down the hall, my mother and the paramedics were talking, and they told me my dad was gone. In my heart, I knew he wasn’t gone. Just buzzing off to a new adventure.
God bless all the fathers on their special day. The ones who are here and the ones who are away.