afternoon phone call
“Our dear daddy has died…”
“Yes…” silence

I’ll never hug him again
never smell his neck
never feel his enveloping hug, my face pressed in his chest
I’ll never hear his voice say my name

I have memories though
sweet treasures of time spent together
quotidian moments have suddenly become golden
‘still-framed’ forever in my mind

his huge hand envelopes my tiny one
his giant stride forces me to hop, skip, jump to keep his pace
I watch in wonder as he directs the marching band
I beam in pride because he is my dad!

we plant tulips together in our triangle garden
we clean the attic together, sorting through boxes, the air hot and stuffy
I learn stories from his life as we work side by side
going out for ice cream later to reward our hard work

early mornings I wake and wander
down to where I see lamplight
he sits, the Bible open on his knee
my heart is imprinted early to the importance of reading God’s word every day

Saturday morning errands include a trip to Ace Hardware
and culminate in a much anticipated trip to the bakery
the treat, a small white nickel-bag of brownie crusts
which we share on the way home, our little secret

he studies music with deep concentration
inhaling sharply at certain points of intensity or change
he helps with my instrument practice, whistling the correct note from the other room
he sees it as helpful, I see it as annoying!

we work together at the music camp he pioneered
helping kids become better at their passion
the real reward comes later in the week
eyes teary at the mention of a child giving his life to Christ

he works diligently at several jobs to pay for 3 weddings in 9 months’ time
college profs aren’t paid much, yet he earns his Doctorate of Fine Arts
Dr. Joseph Parker, perfectionist, hard to please
when you hit the mark it is bliss

Saturday mornings he sits at the kitchen table, shoe box out, paying bills
“Sylvia, have you been writing checks and not recording them?”
“They’re recorded . . . on the back of the check pad . . .” Sigh
money was never his strong suit, but he tried

wheelbarrow rides at the cabin
running around the yard carrying us on his shoulders
and years later he lifts our kids
“Oh no! Where’d you go? As he holds our ankles and drops us head first behind his back
giggles abound as we yell, “Do it again, do it again, Dad!”

he sings Pony Boy and Pony Girl to his grandchildren
bouncing them on his crossed leg, ending with a “giddy-up whoa!”
delight dances from their eyes
his sparkle as they laugh together

installing a garage door opener at our very first home
he runs to Kmart for parts
gets locked out of our old beat-up blue Horizon in the day before cell phones
his 6’6″ frame presses through the hatch back and wrestles into the driver’s seat

I don’t know how he manages that!
he tells the story after his frustration has partially waned
his mussed hair draped over an eye tells all
exasperation mixed with humor and we share a laugh

trips to Hubbard Lake
deer rides, trips to the dump
we beg for him to stop at Gillard’s store for penny candy
happily he always acquiesced

he anguished while our mother suffered
dying his own death as he watched her go
experiencing a depth of soul-sorrow none of us could know
just wishing it was a bad dream

he meets a lovely woman
she brings laughter and sunshine back into his world
he loves her deeply and is so grateful
he has a friend who brings zest to his life and revives his soul

phone calls span the miles, making them disappear
how are the grand kids?
I can see his eyes shine as I tell him their latest accomplishments
he’s so proud of who they’ve become

there are many more memories bubbling up in my heart
treasures to savor in the days ahead
there will be tears and longing and aching to come
but such is the bitter-sweet nature of life and of love

who really knew the man we knew as dad,
husband, father,
co-worker, friend?
I know I tried

to me he was a good dad
the perfectionist who was far from perfect
but he was my dad
and I love him still

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13 Responses to “snippets”

  1. Wanda Jackson Says:

    Kris, thank you for sharing your “snippets” about your father. His memories live on in your heart and your love for him will never die. When you write of him it is like he comes alive again, it is a good way to grieve such a loss. He will be missed by so many, I’m sure your writing has comforted them. Thanks for being a friend to all. You and your family are in our prayers. Take care and grieve well. Love you.

  2. Barbara Vierk Says:

    I’ve done it, Kris. Today I started with your first entry and read them all. Yes, I really did. You are my friend now. A delightful friend who is wise and honest with a delightful sense of humor. A friend who sees so much in life as she lives it. Friend, God bless you in the weeks ahead as you grief the loss of your dad.
    I am sitting in my den on a Sunday afternoon. A year ago I started taking seriously God’s command to honor the sabbath day to keep it holy. (I wonder how that happened?) Sunday is no longer just another day for me. It’s not a day go to church then do what I do other days. It is delightful, restful, extraordinary, and special. It’s a gift.

  3. Tami Says:

    What a lovely tribute, Kris! Not only hearing the memories of your dad, but also hearing your love and honor towards him are heart-warming. There’s no doubt you’ve been a joy as a daughter to him. We will continue to pray for you, Les, and the kids as you process the grief that will come and go. Lots of hugs and our love to you! 🙂

  4. Becky Tracy Says:

    Dear Kris – I just relived the moments I got the phone calls on the days my parents died. I became a small child again. Life changed forever. Your writing is so wonderful and has a way of penetrating our hearts. I am praying for you as you walk through this time and learn to live life without your dad here on earth. You have beautiful memories. I can tell he was very dear… like you.

  5. Joyce Wilson Says:

    Good morning Kris,
    Sorry to hear about the loss of your father. I can tell he was very dear to your heart as I read your poem of memories, laughs etc. You are a great writer and I enjoy reading your blog. Praying for you and your family. Hugs!!!!!

  6. suzanne Freshman Says:

    so sorry for your loss. I sit here at my computer crying as your memories are sweet and we share some in common–makes me think of my own Dad and his big hand in mine and ice cream! I still miss his big bear hug! I love your blog and your writings and can’t wait till we can have lunch and talk about life and writing! Call me soon! 238-5121

  7. Carrie Roost Kasiguran Says:

    What memories your words roused in me. It was so long ago, yet I still remember game nights at your house or ours, band concerts and musicals at Dondero, visiting the cabin at Hubbard Lake (I never did get to sleep in the Loft with the older kids), listening to our mom’s chat and laugh on the phone for hours. I can remember trying to fall asleep at your house while our parents still played games. I remember that portable dishwasher in the kitchen, and when Colleen cut her knee on the pullout couch bed. I hope we will stay in touch better in the future. I’ll try harder. I’ll be praying for all of you.

  8. Nicolette Says:

    I just read the Destiny in Bloom entry today entitled “The Power of Words Spoken Over You” and then followed it up with this entry re: your father. Thank you for sharing your “snippets”– experiences lived through, words spoken around and over you, emotions felt, foundations laid. Even after you were in a home of your own he was still laying foundation into your life and speaking words of life and love into you and yours. You will continue to be in my prayers.

  9. Deb Schmidt Says:

    Kris, Thank you for a window into your sweet relationship with your father. What a beautiful tribute! It blesses my heart to read of the special relationship you shared with him. As one who never knew that kind of relationship with an earthly father, I long for knowing my heavenly Father even more as I read your tribute. You are in my prayers as you continue to grieve the loss of your dad! Much love, dear lady!

  10. Claudia Kaser Says:

    So beautiful, Kris. A daddy is such a precious gift – and praise God, Jesus overcame the grave! Praying for you and your family during this very difficult time!

  11. Bonnelle Says:

    This was beautiful and it brings up memories of my own dad who has been gone a few years now. I weep with you and I smile through tears with you.

  12. Deanna Says:

    Kris, what an amazing writing of poetry and the honor to him ! Outstanding! Brings tears of joy to me with my eyes full of tears … as I remembered my dad through your writing ! What great memories .. what a great dad ! You are an incredible daughter…. oh how love is shining through you as you remember ! Thank you so much for sharing your life with all of us! We love you, my friend! 🙂

  13. jan lane Says:

    Kris, as I write this through tears, I tell you what a wonderful daughter you have been. You have always honored your dad and I am so sorry to hear of his passing. This is a beautiful tribute to him:)

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