The phone rang. There wasn’t even a hello when I answered. Instead I heard, “You need to do something before I hurt your father.” (Paraphrased so as not to convict the guilty.) Thankfully, my father was in jail already, but not wanting my mother to join him there, I figured I better find out what was wrong.
“What’d he do now, Mom?” I found this very statement funny, seeing as how he’d spent the last few days behind bars doing a prison ministry. It couldn’t have been too bad if he hadn’t been home, right?
“There’s wine all over my wall. He put that thing in the living room, right next to the BEIGE wall and it’s splattering all over.”
Recently, Dad’s taken to the occasional glass of wine to ease a head cold. What better way to have access to the stuff than to make it oneself? Much like other people I know, (Read: men…sorry guys, it’s true.) Dad doesn’t like to read or follow directions when doing a project. He’ll figure it out along the way. Not really a great idea when it comes to wine making. At least when this was his first time sans our friend Harry, the expert wine maker.
I rushed to my mother’s house and inspected the carboy. After swatting away several fruit flies and examining what looked like blood splatter all over the beige wall, I determined that he’d never put any water in the air lock. It was now filled with grape juice.
“Oh dear.” Now, whenever it bubbled, it shot juice everywhere.
“Grab me a rag, Mom. I’ll clean it up.”
She stood behind me, arms crossed. “You don’t need to clean it. I’m capable of cleaning it, but I’m going to leave it for… ‘your father’.”
I could almost hear it in the pause. The ‘duh, duh, duh’ your father. Emphasis on ‘your’. Somehow when he does things like this, he becomes ‘my’ father instead of ‘her’ husband. I gave her the tried and true, “You CHOSE him.”
I smiled. “How about we take a picture instead?”
Mom agreed, and after snapping a few crime scene photos, I went to work, wiping the walls, cleaning the carboy, and refilling the airlock.
“You always come to your father’s rescue. You’re protecting him,” she said, half snickering.
“No. I’m protecting you. I’d hate to see you in prison next to him after killing him for getting juice on your walls.”
We both laughed.
Thankfully, when my dad returns from prison, he’ll live to see another day…as long as he stops making wine.
Editor’s note: When Dad returned, he insisted he put water in the airlock. But he did say he owed me for this one.