I am in the front yard of my parents house and I’m most surprised to see my Dad come home from work, as he’s been dead for almost three years. He’s really my Dad, but he’s being played by a seventies character actor. I thought it might be James Brolin or Warren Oates, but it’s someone else, a lesser known actor. I stop him on the front steps and ask him how he’s doing and he mutters darkly about how they’re treating him at work. I say “Well, you’re home now. Go inside and take off your shoes.”
We have a large feast in our backyard with the whole family and neighbors in attendance. A blond fellow playing some sort of mandolin starts singing a song I immediately recognize to be a ghost dispelling song. It’s a very sweet song, meant to remind the dead that they are gone.
I leap to my feet.
“He’s trying to make Dad go away!” I shout to my brothers.
Dad runs down a hill and the family follows after. They scramble all over the place.
I catch my dad and hold onto him. He’s now my actual Dad, only his eyes have sealed shut and he’s withered and confused. “He’s trying to tell me I’m a ghost!” he shouts.
“That’s because you are. We were most surprised…” I note the arch tone of that “most surprised” phrasing. I also notice my own dramatic turnaround from defense and denial to acceptance. “We were most surprised when you showed up today and…”