I’ve written about my Daddy before. I love him. We all know that. He’s my HERO. He’s stuck here in this foreign land with me for the time which makes me feel awful knowing how much he loves his home. That’s part of the reason I wanted to let him know how much I appreciate him today.
Father’s day, 2016. I don’t have much to offer. I gave him bedding for the mattress and box spring he has in his room here. The one that sits directly on the floor with no frame, no head board. For months he’s been sleeping without even a fitted sheet. So, I got him a sheet set and soft blanket, king size naturally. It must fit who it’s meant to cover, after all.
He loved it.
Yesterday on my excursion to the book store I bought him a trivia book. He loves filling his head with interesting (yet less than useful) facts. He’s been reading it since I gave it to him. I think he likes it.
Today, I panicked. I had no idea what to do. If we were home we could go fishing or see family. Have a party, or, at the very least, share the day with my sister. But, it’s just the two of us. Living in a borrowed home. None of his personal belongings within 2,000 miles.
He likes to drive. I tried to find a cool scenic highway. There aren’t any nearby. I remember the Sunday drives growing up. We would change clothes after church and get in the car. We’d get lunch or pack a picnic and we would take off into the country side.
My memories of these trips are all filled with warm yellow light and hazy sunshine. There was no music playing on the speakers, only stories being told. We would pass something interesting or familiar and Dad would spin his tales. My sister and I would often look at each other and smile, often giggling under our breath when we wondered if what he said was true. Our Dad is one of the goofy one’s. Always willing to make a fool of himself to make his little girls laugh.
I’d poke at my sister. She’d take it for awhile. Then she’d say, “Mom!”. I’d stop and do my best to look innocent. It never worked. That woman knew me better than I’ve ever known myself. I remember watching her from the backseat when the car was silent and the bumpy roads would bounce me toward sleep like my mother did when I was just a baby. Her face was often the last thing I saw before my eyes finally closed. They’d put up a good fight but slumber won out.
Today there was no drive, though. Nowhere to go. No memories to recall fondly. Another plan needed hatching.
I thought about the museum. Civil rights or art. I didn’t think he’d enjoy either of those. No go.
I thought about a movie but nothing he would be interested in was playing. Again, I had no idea what to do for the most deserving man in the world.
My sister wired me money. “Take Dad somewhere.”, she said as she sat alone without a Father to celebrate with today. My circumstance forces uncomfortable absences on people who don’t deserve it. She misses Dad today and she has no mother on Earth to talk to about it. Sorry, Sarah. It will all be sorted out soon enough.
So, I took him to the bookstore. A passion we share. He had no idea I was taking photos. He didn’t know I’d write this either. I wonder what he will do when he finds out I’ve secretly documented our day. Like a ninja.
Off we went to spend Sarah’s money. Woohoo! I LOVE spending Sarah’s money.
THIS is where I get it from. It all makes sense now. Give me books. ALL of the books. BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS! I NEED them ALL!
He got seven books for himself, and one for me, of course. If there is one thing my parents were ALWAYS willing to buy, it was books. I’m sure he’d have bought me as many as I’d asked for (within reason) but, I’m gratefully spoiled, not rotten.
Then we went to eat. As we were trying to pick a place I wasn’t very helpful. I will literally eat any type of food and enjoy it. I like food. I like it as much as I like books. THAT’S saying something.
My Dad and I decided on a place eventually. In a surprising way. I didn’t see it coming though I probably should have.
He asked me, “What would Mom like?”
I listed a place we ate at a lot as children. It rhyme’s with schmerkins. They don’t have those here, though. Her next favorite was a popular “italian” chain. Luckily for us, the local equivalent was right next door to the bookstore.
There’s Daddy. Embracing the age of technology. Making sure I know all about the interesting facebook stories, whose birthday it is today (happy b-day Pickles), and how to get an alligator to open it’s mouth if one ever tries to eat me. Good to know.
There’s my masterpiece. I call it “moonlit flower by pre-k student”. Medium, Crayon. Pallette, orange, blue, and red. Canvas, butcher paper tablecloth. It’s one of my finest creations. Before leaving the table I wrote “To Mama” above my signature. I don’t really know why. I suppose I was just trying to invoke her spirit somehow. Especially since I killed a cardinal with my car yesterday. That sh** f***ed up my whole day. Poor bird.
We got back “home” and Dad started reading. I took a nap, on accident. Dad grilled steak for supper. He’s still reading now. He shared with me why he loves to read and I felt like I’d heard his words before. In fact, I had. When they had come out of my own mouth.
When we read, we aren’t really here. We’re in a story somewhere else. Better than a movie because we create the imagery. We decide what characters look like. We decide how their voices sound. We decide how they move and glance at the other characters around them. While reading a book, we write short stories of our own while taking breaks away from the pages, imagining where the story goes next. How would we continue the story if we were the author? We have hopes for the outcome of the imaginary lives that only live inside the binding. I find my mind is much more colorful than reality or even movies can possibly depict. I suspect that my Father’s is, as well. He taught me how to use my brain. He taught me well.
Happy Father’s Day, Pops. Thanks for teaching me to create. Thanks for teaching me to be kind. Thanks for teaching me to work hard. Thanks for being there, always, without fail. I enjoyed our day together. I hope you did as well. I hope we get another year together. We both know there is no guarantee. But, today, I hope you saw how appreciated you are. It’s always difficult to show emotions so grand as there is no action, gesture, or material item big enough to properly express it.
The sentiment would be best expressed if I could take you to the moon for a picnic. I would tell you tales on the way up of all of my memories of you. Of lessons you taught me. Of character you gave me by simply being an outstanding example. Looking toward the Earth and then out to the stars, I’d tell you then that that is how much you mean to me. You were the Universe when I was small and as an adult I see it clearly. The abilities I possess, the attributes I claim, my ability to travel through this life are all mine because of how you raised me. Yes, a spaceship picnic. That’d be the only fitting gift. That’d be the only proper expression of how grateful we are for you.
Maybe next year.
Love ya Dad!