The first time I flew home from college, my father picked me up at the airport. On the way home he told me he wanted me to be prepared because my mother was acting odd lately.
"What do you mean?" I asked with a sinking feeling taking over.
"She's just been acting a little out of it lately," he said. "Just yesterday I found her in the bathroom with a saw, cutting the toilet seat."
"Cutting the toilet seat!" I said. "What in the world is the matter with her?"
"I'm not sure," he said. "She just kept saying she had to get the house ready because her half-assed son was coming home."
My cousin Jerome remembered how my father recounted that story with relish just last year.
Aunt Edith remembered her husband, my Uncle John, telling how he and Dad were walking down the street one afternoon when my father told John he wanted to introduce him to two attractive women who were walking towards them. John smiled at the women and stopped in front of them, waiting for the introduction that didn't happen as my father kept walking past the two strangers.
Which was probably a little more embarrassing than the time my father and John were in a car getting on the New York State Thruway. As they approached the toll booth to get a ticket, my Dad told John they were only going two exits so he should tell the attendant he wanted a Quik Trip Ticket. And apparently John kept insisting he wanted a Quick Trip Ticket until the attendant told him there was only one kind of ticket and John realized he had been tricked again.
Kind of like the man my mother recalled, who came home from work with Dad to have dinner with us. At the door, Dad told him he had to take his shoes off because my mother was Japanese. And so this guy met my very non-Japanese mother and she was wondering why he wasn't wearing any shoes.
Sure there have been tears this past week, but lately lots more laughs as people remember my father who was one of the world's great pranksters and story tellers. He was a man who made people laugh a lot. He was so good at it that we're still laughing a lot even though he's not with us.