default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
Logout|My Dashboard

Philip Bookman: Was father's burial clothing a son's last act of revenge?

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Saturday, July 5, 2014 12:00 am

I spent part of Father’s Day reflecting on my late father. Henry died 12 years ago in the grip of dreaded dementia. Fathers and sons. Sometimes comforting, often complex.

I have a guilty conscience, one that I will carry until the bell tolls for me. Why? I buried my father in brown socks.

When the funeral director asked me to choose Henry’s last clothing, I found in his closet a lovely blue blazer, finely creased gray slacks, a freshly starched white shirt and pearl gray and light blue striped tie. Finally, I took black shoes which I polished to a bright shine. And brown socks.

They should have been black or gray, but no, I left him to spend eternity wearing brown socks. What fiend would bury his father in brown socks? That thought is as haunting as an Edgar Allen Poe poem. Only this time the raven quotes, “Evermore.”

For it was the Duke of Windsor’s tailor who proclaimed, “Gentlemen never wear brown.” So, from that time forth, I never again wore brown, no suits, shoes and certainly no brown socks.

Friends would scoff, saying, “He’ll never know.” True, but I did.

Henry was a tough guy who fought for everything he achieved in life. For many years he worked at two jobs, catching a few hours sleep between each, and certainly saving little time for family.

No nonsense. No excuses tolerated. Shed tears and he would hurl the old one, two. “You want to cry? I’ll give you something to cry about.” And he often did.

Sept. 17, 1947. Another “can’t forget” date. Henry stood me against the wall and pounded away. Not that I didn’t deserve it. I really was a bad boy. But he could have remembered the old adage of spare the rod and spoil the child. Would that he used a rod instead of fists. I really wasn’t spoiled, honest.

We spent much of our lives without heart to hearts. Only when he could seize snatches of memories from times past did we speak. He spoke of wanting to die and I said I wished I could help, but could not.

He now lays beside my mother, his wife of 60 years, in a small cemetery, where the only sound is the occasional rattle of a train.

I recently was asked if I could relive life again, what would I do different?

I thought and answered, “I would have been kinder to people.”

Could I have been kinder to Henry? Or was burying him in brown socks a final act of revenge?

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don’t pretend you’re someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don’t threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don’t insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the ‘Report’ link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.
  • 9 Don’t be a troll.
  • 10 Don’t reveal personal information about other commenters. You may reveal your own personal information, but we advise you not to do so.
  • 11 We reserve the right, at our discretion, to monitor, delete or choose not to post any comment. This may include removing or monitoring posts that we believe violate the spirit or letter of these rules, or that we otherwise determine at our discretion needs to be monitored, not posted, or deleted.

Welcome to the discussion.

Recent Comments

Posted 12 hours ago by Jien Kaur.

article: Letter: Ron Portal’s letters repeat the…

So very much the truth Mr Adams - but you forgot to make the mention of the man who spend the millions and finally discover that the Mr Oba…


Posted 12 hours ago by Michael Fiske.

article: Letter: Suggestions for committee appoi…

Ed, everybody knows JoAnne hates Bob. If you don't know that than you don't know squat! Open your eyes. She campaigned against two candidat…


Posted 12 hours ago by Jien Kaur.

article: Letter: Our leaders need to be better r…

The Mr Kindseth wrote that 'America’s attitude toward Royal Emperor Obama changed when he went from “We the People” to “Screw the People”' …


Posted 12 hours ago by Thomas Heuer.

article: Steve Hansen: Funding, researcher bias …

Skepticism is a smart way of saying "I DON'T KNOW." No more no less. It is not a lofty intellectual endeavor. It is used by the …


Posted 13 hours ago by Mike Adams.

article: Letter: Ron Portal’s letters repeat the…

A correct assumption instead: Mr. Portal, like most conservatives, utilize information that is not true and when they do use the correct …



Popular Stories



Your News

News for the community, by the community.

Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists