To get to the Pittsburgh Hilton where my dad, president of United Steelworkers Local 1223, was put up by the union during contract negotiations with Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel, my mom had to merge our ’82 Ford Escort in city traffic.
The same woman who, despite her religion, cursed like my dad, a swearing savant, when she had to cross a sleepy stretch of Rt. 2 in tiny McMechen, WV, oh for shit’s sake!, to start the 10-minute drive home from my grandparents’ house. So, we circled the same city block until we were all nauseated and I wailed I’m never going to see my Daddy again! We made it somehow. We each remember the trip differently.
My brother, the Pittsburgh Pirates game, the ballcap my dad bought him, hotel waffles as big as your head; me, petting the dinosaur femur on display at the Carnegie Museum, seeing the nightmare T-Rex skeleton; my mom, discovering her first grey hair in the hotel bathroom; and my dad, trying to make everyone laugh, stuffing his cheeks with ballpark peanuts like a squirrel in October, while wondering if the old-timers would get to keep their pensions, how he could convince the young guys to swallow another pay cut, if this was the beginning of the end.
Carrie Conners, originally from West Virginia, lives in Queens, NY and teaches at LaGuardia Community College-CUNY. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in RHINO, Kestrel, Cider Press Review, Quiddity, and Crab Orchard Review, among others.