Back by popular demand, the Grumpy Old Man! If you missed last week's guest column by my father, in which he has a hell of a time trying to get a haircut, head on over and check it out, that way you have some context for the ridiculousness that appears below. Today, we follow my dad as he heads back to his high school reunion in Michigan, where he loses his phone...at a funeral. Tess' Note: Remember, everything below the dotted line is written by my Grumpy Dad, and my notes appear after that precursor. This is an actual event that took place in July, and all of it is unfortunately and embarrassingly true. Again the most grumpy parts are in bold, and so is dad's dialogue. For those of you who enjoyed the last one: @cindystran @buddyesd @MichaelBarbosa @Misssophiestik @danidee @esha Now, read the story of how my Grumpy Dad lost his phone:
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- First of all, I didn’t lose my phone. I misplaced it and it was subsequently stolen. It’s been three weeks and I haven’t heard from the police in Hart, MI, so I guess the culprit has failed to realize that when you steal something from a church, you’re guaranteed to burn in hell.
It started when my Uncle Tom Dillingham died at the age of 87 a week before my 40th high school class reunion. I had planned to attend the reunion (since research suggested I had aged far more gracefully than all of my classmates). The original plan was to make the trip alone (my wife had to work and wasn’t particularly interested in tales of my athletic prowess—she can get that at home). However, “Plan B” took effect when I was informed that Uncle Tom’s funeral would be held on the Thursday before the Saturday reunion. Since the drive from Cleveland, OH to Muskegon, MI for the reunion would be about five hours, traveling there and back twice wasn’t a sensible option. So, how would I fill the time between Thursday morning and Saturday evening? My 16-year-old son was lying on a lawn chair in the middle of the living room wearing a microphone headset and furiously pushing buttons on an X-Box controller when “Plan B” hatched in my mind. Tess' Note: My little brother has taken a lawn chair, like one of those folding ones that you sit on at the beach, and put it in the middle of our living room. Don't ask me why. I don't get it either. Also, that's an actual image of him, deadlocked on Call of Duty or whatever.
“Son?” No answer. “Son!” “Yeah?” he said, taking off the headset, but continuing to push buttons.“ "How about coming with me to Michigan? Ask your friend Shane if he wants to go. We’ll get up at five. I’ll drop you guys off at the golf course in Shelby at ten. I’ll go to the bakery and get one of those huge omelets; then I’ll drive to Hart for the service. It’ll be over by the time you’ve played the front side. I’ll meet you on the 10th tee at about 12:15. We’ll play 18 somewhere else Friday morning; then we’ll go to the sand dunes in Silver Lake. We’ll drive to Muskegon and stay there Friday night, get some good food and get up and play more golf Saturday morning. I’ll go to the reunion Saturday night while you guys watch TV in the hotel room. We’ll go home Sunday morning. Sound good?” “What? Hold on. I’m almost done.' Anyway, Plan B was solid. Griffin, his friend Shane and I arrived at Oceana Golf Club at 10 A.M. Thursday. I watched the boys tee off and drove to “downtown” Shelby to get the best omelet in the free world so I wouldn’t have to attend the funeral on an empty stomach. Tess' Note: Grumpy dads love omelets.
The Shelby Bakery is a gathering place for old timers whose only gauge on the passage of time is their decreasing number. They eat. They discuss their physical ailments. They talk about where they’ll eat lunch. They talk about where they’ll eat dinner. I hadn’t set foot inside the bakery since 2005, when I stopped for an omelet before golf. I remarked that day that nothing had changed since the last time I’d eaten there two years before--same waitress, same cook, same collection of coffee cups sitting on a self-service table near the Mr. Coffee. So, I actually expected the same when I walked into the bakery in 2015—and I got it.“Hi. How are you? Haven’t been here in a while, huh?” said the same waitress who’d been there in 2003 and 2005. “Yeah. Like ten years,” I said.She ignored my reference to the passage of time and asked if I needed a menu (a legitimate question since most of the people who eat there have the menu memorized). “No thanks. I’ll have the three-egg western with cheddar cheese, no onions and wheat toast. ”“You know how big that is. Right?” she asked. The three-egger at the Shelby Bakery is about a foot long and four inches high. “I do,” I said. “Bring half of it on a plate and put the other half in a box. Split up the toast and hash browns.” I left the bakery at 10:45 and arrived at the funeral home in Hart at 10:55. The car smelled like omelet. I hadn’t seen anyone from my late father’s side of the family in more than a decade, but immediately recognized my three cousins, none of whom had aged as gracefully as I had. The service was brief, held in a room at the mortuary. Uncle Tom’s body had been cremated, so I didn’t know why they were all going to the cemetery afterward, but I don’t like cemeteries anyway, so I headed back to the golf course after telling my cousins I’d pick up the boys and bring them to the luncheon at St. Gregory’s.I met the boys on the ninth green and informed them of the change in plan. “We’ll come back and play the back side after the reception,” I said. Since it involved food, they were willing.
The reception was held in one of several rooms inside the church hall, which was attached to the main church by a long corridor. Just outside the room, there was a table with catered sandwiches and potato salad. The boys met the cousins and chatted for a few minutes. Then they retired to a table of their own and did what they do best. I took out my phone and showed Cousins Jane, Jim and Tom photos of my family. We talked for fifteen minutes, exchanged numbers and emails and promised to stay in touch—which we hadn’t done for the last forty years. I gathered the boys and we walked out. On the way, I passed the sandwich table. Despite the fact that I was still full from eating half the three-egger—and still had the other half in the car—I stopped to grab a ham sandwich. I put the sandwich on a paper plate, squirted some yellow mustard on the bun and followed the boys to the car.I changed my clothes in the parking lot, swapping my dress shirt and pants for a golf shirt and shorts. (The boys kept watch, making sure no one who might file and indecent exposure report saw me.) Tess Note: What the hell dad.
We were about to tee off when I started looking for my phone. I searched the golf cart and my golf bag. No luck. I sent my son back to the car.
“Check the pockets of my pants. Check under the seat. Check everywhere.” He returned empty handed. We all went back to search the car. No phone. “Back to the church,” I said. We left our clubs in the cart and drove to St. Gregory’s. I figured the phone had to be sitting on the sandwich table. “I must have set it down when I grabbed the mustard,” I declared. “I had the sandwich in one hand and the mustard in the other, so I had to have set the phone on the table.”
“Why didn’t you put it in your pocket?” asked my son's friend Shane.
“Shut up, Shane,” I said.
The parking lot was nearly empty when we arrived. My son ran into the hall. He returned a minute later shaking his head. “Not there,” he said. We all went inside. Only the catering crew remained. No one had seen a phone. I found the church secretary. No one had turned in a phone. I found the priest. He hadn’t heard anything about a lost phone.“Who would steal a phone in a church?” I asked. “You’d be surprised,” said the priest. “Isn’t that like an automatic ticket to Hell?” I asked. “It certainly used be,” said the priest. “Times have changed. That vengeful God we grew up with has mellowed quite a bit-- out of necessity, I guess.” “Necessity?” “Well, the numbers of God-fearing Catholics have been dwindling since the eighties. A lot of churches and schools have closed. The collection baskets are pretty empty these days. Because of that, God has been forced to reassess the definition of sin. Jews marry Catholics—no problem. Gays show up at Mass holding hands—no problem. God’s mind is more open. His capacity for forgiveness seems boundless.” “Oh? And how do we actually know God is changing with the times?” I asked.The man paused. “Well, that would be a question for the priest,” he said. “I’m just the janitor. Good luck finding your phone.”
Epilogue: The boys had a great time. They enjoyed the golf, the dune ride and lots of good food. I was indeed the best-looking one at the reunion, which was boring. My Galaxy S-5 has not surfaced. I’m now using daughter Tess’s old IPhone 4-S—and I’ll probably lose it. The good news is that research suggests that losing your phone is not a sign of Dementia. It’s when you forget what your phone does that you have to worry. I’ll use the 4-S to call the Hart Police today for an update on the investigation.
Who knows? Maybe God will have a change of heart and return to his old vengeful self—just for me.
Tess' Note: So yeah, my dad lost his phone at a funeral. I gave him my old phone to use and he definitely will lose it. Does any of this remind you of your dad? Want more grumpy stories? Get a new one every Monday in place of the #AfterLifeColumn, which resumes Tuesday-Friday only on Vingle.net :) Have you ever lost a phone? Does your dad do things like this? #GrumpyMonday