Bury The Glove ©
A calm silence permeated the parlor. Within the hour it had been overflowing with friends and neighbors coming to pay their final respects, but now there were just a few. The time had come for just the family.
We all took turns saying our goodbyes. We shed tears during those private whispers as we tried to put into words our final thoughts. Dad offered his hand in a gentlemanly fashion to the rest of the family, insisting everyone have one last chance to say their goodbyes before him. His polite gesture surprised no one.
When our time passed, his followed. After forty years together the sight of his final goodbye clearly stood out as the most emotional part of the night. In typical fashion he remained stoic. The same could not be said for the rest of us. For me, I could only let my mind sadly wander to my difficult yesteryears.
Mom opened the door and there I stood, head slightly tilted to hide the obvious. “Lord have mercy! What in the world happened to you?” She caught a glimpse of my first black eye, which for an eight-year-old boy wore like a badge of honor. “Get in here. NOW!” With the tone in her voice I could tell she assumed I had been fighting, and I naturally instigated it.
“Mom, it wasn’t my fault! Sully started it.”
Peering down at me with her hands firmly planted on her hips, she snarled, “And I suppose you were the one who finished it!”
I proceeded to meander through the details of the story, wondering if any of my excuses were going to free me from the eventual punishment soon to be handed down. Through the “ums” and the “ahs” I finally reached the line I had repeated angrily the whole way home, “And that will be the LAST time I ever play with Sully!”
Surprisingly her tone changed. “Now don’t say that! You and Sully have been the best of friends forever. You’re going to have to put this incident behind you, and bury that glove! Just make sure it’s the right glove!” She was right. She was always right.
Mom opened the door and there I stood, head slightly tilted to hide the obvious. “Hey young man. Supper’s almost ready.”
I stormed past her, hiding the anger in my eyes. “I’m not eating!”
Dad quickly followed through the door behind me, barking in my ear. “Good. I’m tired of wasting my money on someone who’s so damn selfish, and lazy. You won’t even lift a finger to help around here.” Each of his words felt like a dagger thrusting deeper, and deeper into an already wounded relationship.
Hours later things settled down a bit, and mom entered my room. I bemoaned, “I’m tired of this crap! He doesn’t even pay attention to the things I do around this place. I swear in two more years I’m out of here, and I’ll never speak to him again!”
“Now stop that. Your dad’s going through some tough times right now. We just have to be patient. I know it’s hard for you, but you have to hang on. You know he loves you; it’s just at times he really struggles to show you. You’ve got to bury that glove before it’s too late. Just make sure it’s the right glove!” She was right. She was always right.
Mom opened the door and there I stood, head slightly tilted to hide the obvious. “Well isn’t this a surpri-.” She paused mid-sentence as she noticed her normally strong son had been crying. “Honey, what’s the matter?” She pandered to me as I silently entered the house, suitcases in both hands. I hurt and she knew it.
“It happened again. I just can’t take it anymore. I’m done.” Although I kept my personal problems close to the vest, somehow she wasn’t surprised that I showed up. “I feel like I made the biggest mistake of my life when I married her, and I just don’t think I can make it work.”
I spent the rest of the evening in close conversation with mom as she imparted her wisdom in between intermittent offerings of comfort and wine. “Son, you and Becky have something truly special, not to mention those three little ones. Don’t throw everything away over a little spat. You can get through this. These are tough times and you just have to hold on tight, and bury that glove. Just make sure it’s the right glove!” I knew she was right. She was always right.
Dad remained kneeling next to the casket for several minutes, whispering an occasional I love you to his wife as he affectionately tended to her needs. Before leaving her side for the last time, he laid a single white glove lovingly into her clasped hands. I could tell the significance of this gesture went unnoticed by the others.
For me, when I saw the glove it crystallized in my memory all of the good things remaining in my life. From the corner of my eye I could see my best friend Sully looking my way as if to say everything would be all right. My wife Becky and our three kids stood close by my side. And of course, my dad. He approached and we embraced for a long moment, and then slowly made our way out of the parlor with the rest of the family.
As I took one final glance back, I felt comforted in knowing mom would remain with me in spirit. She always said we were born wearing two gloves in life: one to hold onto the good memories, and one to hold onto the bad. During our darkest days it is important that we take the glove with the good memories and hold onto it with a grip of stone. The glove with the bad memories should be tossed away and buried for good. Sully, Becky, and my dad would all be out of my life if I hadn’t followed her sage advice. She helped me to hold on with the good glove, while burying the bad. For this I owe her everything.
Obviously mom and dad had gone through their own set of difficult times; we all do. Yet with that one loving gesture he buried all of the bad memories away, permanently sealing them forever. As the years passed he stayed true to mom’s words and only reflected upon the great memories we shared as a family, and maybe a few intimate ones which remained locked in his heart.
I spend a lot of time with my dad now, and we’ve become the best of friends. He often fights through a tinge of sadness as he reflects back upon the time he and I spent at odds with each other. He desperately wishes it never happened, but of course it did. We try not to dwell on the negative past, so I quickly remind him of a familiar retort:
“Dad, don’t worry, I buried that glove a long time ago!”
- Richard Doyle -