The Canadian years, 59, the names

Door San-Daniel gepubliceerd op Sunday 25 January 20:06


The names

My father was back in check, I understood that the arrival of my aunt and uncle had brought about  an outside situation. There were witnesses and they were witnesses from the cold side of the family. The Frisian side, where he always had been regarded as a stranger in their midst. Probably he let his alter ego surface elsewhere now. Power mongers can not live without power. He tried to be a good host and Betsy tried to be of assistance there. She had her little baby girl now living in our house. It was a sweet child, she was called Poppy. Which is a very unCanadian name. My uncle and aunt were with us now for a week and my mother flourished. She suffered severe pains, but I saw to it that there were no more glasses of whiskey beside her. I had completely forgotten to check with my biology master, and I intended to do so as soon as possible ..

That evening after reading the Bible at the table, which he did well, he announced the baptism of Poppy. ‘The Lord,’ my father said, ‘has brought a little baby girl to our home, a girl who brings joy into our lives.’ I must have looked surprised because my sister gave me a warning look.’ It has pleased the Lord to select our house to look after his little person.’ My uncle looked up and our eyes met. ‘Therefore Pastor Ohler will come to our home to baptize our little Poppy, so that Poppy also belongs to the people of the Lord.’ ‘This began’ I thought, ‘to take on absurd forms.’ My aunt nodded approvingly. I realized that my father had suppressed ‘the real father’, for too long and put the control back into operation, albeit substantiated with God's desire and Betsy's quest and how she had been disowned by her parents. I immediately felt sympathy for Poopsie's parents. ‘Your mother and I will be godfather and godmother of this small wonder. Your mother is not strong enough to go to church and therefore our Pastor will baptize her here.’ No, I understood why, he did not seek spectacle that could hurt him in public. He sought the seclusion of his empire.

Betsy beamed, it was as if they would be more connected by that baptism to our family, and I realized that somehow that was the underlying idea. Now, my father manipulated, faith, my family, my uncle and aunt and the pastor. ‘It will be a day of great celebration,’ my father said. ‘When will the accession of Poppy to God's people take place,’ I asked? My father looked at me suspiciously, but I had done nothing else but formulate my question about the day and time in a respectful manner. ‘Tomorrow night, after dinner,’ my father replied. ‘If it pleases the Lord, of course,’ said my sister. Now my father looked downright strange at us and turned his attention to me when I uttered an amen. Uncle Hank reinforced that by also adding an Amen. ‘If it pleases the Lord,’ my sister said again.

‘Perhaps’, I thought, ‘it would not please the Lord at all,and Pastor Ohler would kill himself running his car into a  tree or he might be struck by lightning just before entering our house. Then he’d be called by the Lord, I thought, permanently incorporated into God’s crowd.’ I must have smiled to myself at that thought, because my father asked me if I found something funny? ‘Well no, not that,’ I said truthfully, but I do have pleasant thoughts about this whole baptisimal thing,’ Betsy looked at me gratefully and I thought of her little girl who was made an instrument, a protagonist in an unholy and impure baptism of betrayal. The child was innocent and could not help it, but I knew without a doubt that she was used as a means to an end. We struggled in this house, at our table, with the daily dosis of madness and we fought that in which ever way.

But as so often happens, the madness is sometimes indistinguishable from reasonableness. And it was that narrow boundary that made our house, my father’s play area. We were no match for his intelligence. He did everything according to a plan, an almost autistic plan once conceived, it was drawn up in rigid perfection. The wheels were back in force. ‘To honor her,’ my father said,’ I will give her new names, baptismal names. The names of your mother.’ This was simply not possible, what was it again? Had my father really said, I will give Poppy new names? Had he descarted my mother along with my sister, who was after all named after my mother? Would we then have three women in the house with the same name? Was it a distorted form to achieve reincarnation before dying, my head was spinning.


My mother looked right happy. ‘That is beautiful,’ she said.’ I've always liked my names, I was named after my grandmother and that was such a sweet person.’ I felt dizzy and knew I could not cope  much longer. I could only think of a few words; ‘clever, so clever, so darn clever.’ My father had been clever in a devilish way and I had no appreciation for the content of the plan, but I found the strategist in him clever. Devilish clever, in his diabolical machinations. Now he had linked Betsy’s baby to my mother’s grandmother and we all were made partakers of this happening. The worst thing was that there was no way to stop the supporting arguments. ‘Should a baby not be baptized then, had God not brought her to our house? Should someone not have the same name as my mother? The cancer that my mother had, was nothing in comparison to the cancer which had entered our family. My father was the chess grandmaster and called the game and the moves.

I could not resist it and when I look back, then I'm glad I did not let silence be imposed on me. ‘Wasn’t grandmother called Botje Berediena, I asked innocently? ‘No, boy,’ my auntie replied, ‘we're talking about her mother, my grandmother, my little sister is named after her. Now I had guided the discussion to my grandmother. ‘I can imagine,’ I said, ‘that your grandmother’ and I looked at my mother, ‘who was very fond of you, will be very happy, se must be looking down at this moment, down from the heavenly host and she simply must welcome dad’s  plan. She shall be so proud of him and what a joy she must feel to be co honored by him and his actions.’ I saw it coming, I could read my dad, my father knew there were no secrets more between us and he realized that the difference between him and me was one of physical strength and no more. Amen, my sister said with a smile. Praise the Lord, said my brother and my father was a man with a broken smile. ‘Thank you boy,’ my father said, ‘those were nice words. I hope I can do the same for you some day.’ ‘Words are but a breath of air,’ I replied, ‘it came from my heart.’ I smiled to him in an exaggerated manner, what must have looked friendly and kind, but I had my eyes fixed on his, and I knew he was hurt. Everyone looked happy and nobody realized that my father and I mastered a language that we could only understand and could speak.

San Daniel 2015

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nice story my friend nice written story
thank you.. I try my best