Home > Musings of a Decorative Ham Man > Musings of a Decorative Ham Man

Musings of a Decorative Ham Man

By Chris Vitiello
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In his later years, my father rarely left his second-story rooms above the antique store.  Most of his time was spent composing simplistic paintings of bears while crying.  I would often catch him at this– on his little stool, bereft of upholstery, his back quaking with emotion as he executed a childish bear face in cheap oils.  Finished, he would tape the painting awkwardly to his walls (while still sobbing) where it would remain for years– growing dusty and edge curled, faded by the sunlight.

I would bring him a brown sack of groceries– fish, beans, rice and the like– staples that he himself had forgotten.  Upon the occasion of my next visit, most of the sack would be where I had placed it, untouched.  And I would wander through the rooms until I came upon him again in some distant corner, crying while painting a happy bear face.  I would often leave without a hint of acknowledgement.

Finally, I enlisted the services of a man called “Castles”, a local psychiatrist.  Castles and I made a slow tour of the rooms until we came upon the old man, as usual, bawling while painting.  Castles observed him for some time– through the entire process and completion of yet another happy bear portrait.

“Well?” I asked.  The old man paid us no mind.  He continued to wail helplessly.

“I think it’s alright,” said Castles.  “Yeah, there’s nothing really the matter here.”

“Is that so?” I questioned.  I would whip him.  There could be no doubt of that.

And later, as I walked Castles back to his car, we came upon an old alley, paved in ancient, uneven stones.  With my shoulder, I guided Castles into the dark lane and proceeded to flog him mercilessly.

I received no bill.

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