I often called my Dad, David Ross, “Pop.” I have no idea why, but I do know it was an affectionate term, and with Father’s Day just around the corner, I want to share with you some memories.
“Burt, I think Dad just had a major heart attack. We are at Englewood Hospital (in New Jersey). Come quickly,” my Mom implored. My father was in his late 60’s- way too invincible to leave this world so soon. I abruptly left my meeting at a lawyer’s office and drove to the hospital where my very worried Mom was in the waiting room outside the emergency room. I hugged her and went into a curtained-off room where my Dad lay still with suction cups on his chest measuring the electrical activity of his heartbeat.
“Pop, how do you feel?” I asked my somber father who was normally anything but somber. He briefly opened one of his heavy eyelids before closing it again. I looked at the ekg machine with the ups and downs on the graph meaning absolutely nothing to my untrained eyes.
After what seemed like eternity, a doctor finally came to examine my father. He barely looked at the ekg with its gyrating graph and placed his stethoscope on Dad’s stomach. “Mr. Ross,” the doctor asked, “Do you always have this much gas?” One of Dad’s eyelids opened widely.
“Doctor, how is my father’s heart? How serious is his heart attack?” I asked.
The doctor looked at me rather suspiciously. “Look at his ekg,” he explained, “his heart is fine. But I have rarely heard such rumbling from a stomach.” As if coming back from the dead, my father opened both his eyes, pulled the suction cups from his chest, grabbed his shirt, and ran past my Mom and out of the hospital as if he were avoiding death as he just had.
In less than an hour Pop was back home finishing his pastrami sandwich with pickles. He went on to live until the age of 91. Gas be damned.