But not with him. He also worked as a landscaper, bookie, and bartender in Great Barrington, where we lived. My mother, for reasons unclear to me at the time, arranged for me to spend the day with my father at the shop. When she dropped me off that morning, it was awkward from the start. The pungent smell of spray paint propellant permeated my nostrils and cooled the back of my throat. Dark, dusty, workbenches with various tools were strewn haphazardly around the perimeter of the garage.
He smoked, watched tv way too much and drank beer while he did it. He liked to joke that round was a shape, but you could tell it bothered him, even though he laughed. So Dad started walking every night, a couple blocks at first, then longer and longer walks as the weeks went on. The weight started coming off and it even boosted his mood.