maureenstclair.com

30 Minute. 30 day. Practice Write. Dad.

Toronto airport. We’ve touched down. maya and i. August 1st. Dad left this world two years ago today. August 1st 2019. This is maya and i’s first time back to Canada. I believe he is guiding us back to mom in these strange masked and sanitized times. Dad came to Grenada 1995 and even though his one week trip was memorable, Grenada is not a place where my dear tender dad lives in my memories; with the exception of a familiar bird song that arrives in Grenada during the rainy season and sounds like the bird song of a humid summer evening in the backyard with dad asking a million gorgeous questions, ‘What would you be doing now if you were back on the island? Tell me again about the mongoose gang, Sir Eric Gairy, Maurice Bishop, other revolutionary women and men? What would Theo be doing right now? What does Theo believe in?  What do you believe in?’

My dear friend Ama messages me the day Toni Morrison leaves this world. Judy says, “Your dad and Ms. Morrison meeting up. I can feel it.” I laugh and laugh thinking really, you think? This white man whose ancestors trade up their soul to survive the violence of an inherited fucked up story;  fit in to the white dominant culture to escape the poverty that was embedded deep within his bones; born of Irish immigrants who farmed the harsh lands of the Ottawa valley generation after generation before they were forced to sell out due to the multinationals stripping them of their livelihoods.   

 Dad fled from the farm as soon as he could. He never took to the land he took to the city and then to the Rocky Mountains where he drove a tour bus for a few summers at Banff national park. He studied law and found his path. He bought into the idea that hard work an determination could alleviate poverty. He subscribed this way of thinking to the whole of humanity. He would make racist comments based on his inherited and chosen capitalist way of perceiving the world which was past down and embedded into his own children.  

One of those humid evenings in the backyard I say to him how easy it was for the Irish to blend and buy into a white dominant system. The color of their/our skin allowed him/us to be. To be. Just like my Italian grandfather, my mother’s dad along with his brothers and uncles; once they arrived to Canada changed their Italian last name from Villella to Billie from Gualtieri to Walters. They too melted into whiteness in order to survive an intolerant Canada.  

Dad pondered, rolled his eyes, changed the topic on those warm summer evenings, swapped my comments for questions of Grenada, How many years did the revolution last? Was it an intervention or invasion?

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