Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Tonight was the 50-year reunion of my dad’s high school class. My brother -- a professional photographer -- worked it. Tomorrow would have been my parents’ 46th wedding anniversary. Melancholy time. How many times in the past 2 weeks have I thought, “Oh, I’ve got to ask Dad” about some question or “I’ve got to tell Dad” about some story?

The power of song: Last Monday after my first day back at work I was listening to Gordon Lightfoot, “If You Could Read My Mind,” and this vivid memory from the time when it was a hit song overwhelmed me: a drive up to central Michigan to go on a canoe trip, stopping at a rural gas station in hilly country, a thunderstorm coming and the sky turning green. I don’t even know if my dad was there -- the trip might have been with my church youth group -- and I don’t even know if my dad like Gordon Lightfoot, but I burst into sobs. Mourning my childhood.

Tears of self-pity.

And, sometimes when I remember my dad’s last few days, tears of pity.

And, sometimes when I think of all the love my family got from friends, more tears. Scenes of tenderness and love make me cry. When my dad’s brother visited the day before we took Dad to the hospital, as he was leaving, I told my uncle, “I know there’s nobody he wants to see more than you,” and I started crying. Because I knew how much they loved each other.

Last winter, when my son and I went home for what would probably be and what proved to be Dad’s last Christmas, my mom was helping organize the Christmas Eve Children’s pageant at church, and she brought home a sheep’s costume for my son. He wore the sheep-hat all day, but it developed that he had a cold and would be staying home for the evening, and that another boy or girl would have to play the sheep. He was extremely upset to surrender the sheep-hat, putting up an enormous tearful fuss, until we hit upon the solution. My dad would be staying home that night too, as would I, and as Dad had lost his hair from chemotherapy, he had taken to wearing a University of Michigan baseball cap with the bill cut off, a gold and blue skull cap. We found a gold-and-blue Michigan pullover winter hat for my son to wear, and offered it to him “so he could be like Grandpa.” That satisfied him, and he no longer fussed about the loss of the sheep-hat. He wanted to be like Grandpa.

In some basic and significant ways I always wanted to be like him too. Still do.
Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?