Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Days to Minutes; Minutes to Memories

November 8, 2011

November 8th comes around every year whether I want it to or not. The day brings myriad memories to my door, complete with the accompanying emotions. Some years I’m weepy, which I don’t like since I’m not really a “girly-girl.”  Some years I’m weepy because the memories are about something stupid and I can’t stop giggling. I don’t like that for the same reason. Too girly.

Then there are the years when I’ve been too numb with fear for the losses of the future to deal with the losses of the past. I’ve lived through too many of those in the last decade as my partner battled for his life against the same disease that took my father.

This year, as I mark the twenty-eighth anniversary of my father’s death, I’m struck by the fact that in two weeks, I will have lived on this earth longer than he did. It’s a very strange feeling.

My father is still close to me in memory. I can pause and recall the ups - and downs - of the father/daughter relationship. I wish I hadn’t taken him for granted, but who knew he’d leave us when he was still a young man. I remember my grandfather saying it wasn’t fair that a young man should be taken when there he was, an old, dried up man, still alive. My grandfather lived another twenty-two years beyond my father, but that’s for another day.

Are my memories clear? They are. Do I remember some events as they really happened? I do hope so, but I will not discount the passing of time applying a rosy hue to them. I can accept that because it’s not as if I can strip it off now that it's on. 

So what do I remember this November 8th?
  • Dad always had a camera pointed at someone - so no one could get a picture of him. (But I did.)
  • Being told I could NOT keep the stray dog that wandered in - and him suggesting we name her Reba. (So I did.)
  • Dad slipping me a twenty before my first official date with a boy who had a car - and he let me keep it when I got home safely. 
  • Me and Dad crashing into the wall at the skating rink and laughing too hard to get to our feet. (I finally taught him to skate.)
  • Riding in the Mack truck with him - and learning to drive it.
  • Dad standing on the roof of my 1969 Camaro to cut a tree limb that hung over the driveway. (You can guess my screeching reaction.)
  • Being Dad’s “remote control” for the television. (Every kid was one, back in the day.)
  • Never Coke, always Pepsi, unless there was Royal Crown Cola to be had.

Dad was a handsome man in a Daniel Boone/Fess Parker/Davy Crockett sort of way. A six feet tall, blue-eyed, broad-shouldered American truck driving man. He had presence in a room, but of all the things I remember about Dad, it’s his quiet sense of humor I miss the most.  He understood that just because you have to take something seriously doesn’t mean it’s not funny.  Of all the things he taught me, I hope that’s the lesson I learned best.

See you again someday, Daddy. Save me a seat.

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