Your Father went to the Doctors, and he has some problems, my Mom said. I asked her,"What's going on?" My Dad continued. "Bud, I have Intraocular Cancer". "What is that?", I asked. "I have Cancer inside of my left eye. But it's okay. It can be maintained with medication. I won't even lose my sight.", he explained. I remember looking down on the carpet just befuddled. I always knew growing up that my parents were odd. Odd meaning that they were much older than my friend's parents. Later in life, that whole thing. But I never thought about it in a mortal sort of way until I got this news.
Now make no mistake about it. My Father was a hard nosed fucking prick. But I worshiped him. After all, he was my Father. He spent more time at the bar drinking and bedding with whores than he spent with me, or Mom for that matter. But he worked his ass off driving that dump truck just to make sure we wanted for nothing. In my estimation, at the age of thirteen. He was a great man. A great Dad with a lot of faults. But a great Dad none the less. So needless to say, the news of this cancer freaked me out. It scared the shit out of me to be honest. All my Grandparents had passed on at this point, but this was the first time that I felt the sadness and mortality of disease.
I remember looking up from the carpet at my Father. A stoic manly look on my face, I'm sure. But I was fighting back the tears. "That sucks Dad, let me know if you need anything." I said, and then kind of looked over to the Dining room. Maybe just in case I got teary. Then something happened that shocked the fuck out of me. My Dad stood up, came over to the couch, and sat down. He softly grabbed my face and lifted up so that he could look into my eyes. "Listen big guy. I love you. I know I haven't always shown it. But there were other things always going on (Alcoholism). I will be fine and I can't wait to watch you play football, and don't you have a baseball game coming up? " My Father placed his hand on my head and said,"Things are going to be a little different now. Your Mother and I think it will be changes for the better."
As it turns out, my Father's Cancer was contained within the eyeball. There was little chance of the Cancer spreading. No chemo, no radiation. Just some medication. But for the medication to work, the old man would have to stop drinking carbonated drinks. Which meant soda, and beer. The alcoholic would have to go on the wagon. And he did! And for three years he was like the fucking Brady Dad.
At the age of fourteen I was playing my last year of Pony's. My Dad was in the bleachers when I hit a 330 foot homerun. And my fast ball got clocked at 81 miles per hour. He wasn't screaming at me to do better. He wasn't slapping me for hitting a double when I should have been standing on third. He was standing up clapping vigorously. He was proud of his baby boy. Catholic school coaches were there to watch. They had these fancy gadgets when I was pitching. But none of that mattered. My Father was proud of me. But for the first time in my life, I felt like he would have been proud of me even if I went 0 for 4. For the first time in my life, he was just proud to be my Father. I guess this sobriety shit isn't so bad.