Posts Tagged ‘dad’


April 18, 2010

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