Saturday, November 7, 2009

Strange Days, Half a Lifetime

November is always a strange time in the yearly cycle of my life. November 8th marks the anniversary of my father’s passing, and this year is particularly significant. This year, I have lived half my life without my dad.

I never know how I’m going to feel when November rolls around. Some years I’ve been melancholy, reflecting about those things in my life I can’t celebrate with him. What he’d say about my writing, I don’t know. He was always proud of me, but his little girl wasn’t supposed to know about, um, you know… sex.

He was a man of few words, unless it was about the speed at which I prefer to drive. It’s not what you might think. Dad drilled it home that if I planned to drive fast, I’d better know how to make the correct split-second decision. He didn’t tell me to slow down, because he didn’t waste words.

My dad is directly responsible for my love of American muscle cars. No, not exotic, for God’s sake, as described by one reviewer. AMERICAN MUSCLE. I know by the sound if it’s got a 283 or a 327 under the hood. I know at a glance if it’s a ’67 or ’68 Camaro, and I know the difference between a big block and small block.

What he thought of having a motorhead for a daughter, I don’t know, but I know he took the time to teach me as much as he could. Very helpful knowledge when dealing with mechanics and used car salesmen. Also very helpful when sizing up a prospective mate.

This year, I find I’m sad to have lived half my live without my dad. He would have had his 80th birthday this past June, and I cannot picture him at that age. For me, he’s frozen in time at the age of 52, my age now. A young man. A handsome man with humor in his steely blue eyes. A strong man standing six feet tall whose arms were always ready with a hug.

I hope he’d still be proud of me, of the choices I’ve made, and how I’ve handled those situations where choices were made for me. I hope he’d tell me it’s okay to love my stepfather, a man who is a true blessing to my mother’s life, and to mine. I know he’d approve of my Mr. Goodwrench certified husband.

So if I’m sad right now, I know it will pass. Something mundane will happen as I go about my days, and Dad’s grin will flash in my memory, and I’ll hear his laughter. And for a moment, he’ll be beside me again.

Life is always good.

KC Kendricks

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