When I was a little girl, my father brought me tiny little tubs of jelly. The kind of little personal jelly tubs that you get in a diner with your breakfast. It may not sound like a gift that a child would want, but I loved them. You see, when I was six years old, my father found out he had cancer. I didn’t know what cancer was but I knew it wasn’t good. Over the years of my childhood, he spent a lot of time in the hospital. My mother didn’t drive, so it was hard for us to go to visit him. But I do remember once when my older brother was home from the navy and he took us to the hospital. The hospital forbid young children from going up to the patients’ rooms. So instead, I stood outside on the grass and waited for him to come to the window. I remember the relief at seeing his face and his smile. He waved and I waved back. Then, once again, he was gone from my view.
But each time he came home from the hospital, he brought me jelly. These little tubs were given to him with his breakfast and he saved them for me. I would open them up and with a spoon and eat the jelly right out of the tub.
When I was a teenager, I would go to the diner with my friends for a late night breakfast. They always teased me when I would take a jelly tub and eat it without spreading the jelly on toast first. Funny, how even that was many years ago now.
My father died of cancer a long time ago, when I was twenty-one. And yet, every time I go to a diner and see little jelly tubs, I remember him coming home from the hospital.
http://www.theresadodaro.com Author of The Tin Box Trilogy