dad-letter-1981

Dad,

This is your long awaited letter that’s taken more than a semester to write. It’s nice to hear you talk more openly in your letter and hope we can talk more in person. I’ve found sometimes it’s easier to write your feelings than say them, but I think it’s better to be able to talk in person.

Circa 1981, plus ça change… yadda yadda.

dad-beach-1981

You, in 1981, in your element– on the beach in Ocean City, MD. Our “big” annual family trip, 150 miles drive. I go almost that distance now to get to an airport.

You, in 1981, now just 4 years older than I am now.

You, in 1981, now as you always were, now but snapshots, old yellowing letters in an envelope in a box in my closet. Me, in 2014, still wanting those conversations that were rare. But treasured.

I cannot say I am father-less on Father’s day because you are always there, on the beach, cutting the lawn, watering the lawn, weeding the lawn, savoring steamed crabs, your carefully coiled lawn hose (my friend Kevin always needling about that contraption), walking me to Little League games to watch me stand in right field, teaching me how to ride the ocean waves on a raft (those heavy duty rafts from Sunny’s Surplus lasting decades), reading my blog… yes, maybe that’s what a lot of this blog writing is for me, the new letter writing. To you.

You, reading every blog post, not understanding the jargon, but still printing all them out, three whole punching them, neatly organizing them in a notebook. Me, just relying on the search button.

You, like clockwork, every Saturday, washing the green Impala and later the blue Lincoln and even later the red Grand Marquis. Me with a dusty red truck that maybe gets washed once a year.

You, writing letters by hand in careful, clear block letters. Me, bad form typing full of spelling mistakes.

And yet, there I am for 45 minutes this morning, outside with the hose watering the flowers, the garden, lost in peaceful drifting thought. A blissful space where everything else is far away. I would look out the window at you standing in the yard with your hose, wondering what the heck you thought about standing out there all that time.

Now I understand.

Likeness and unlikeness, our genetic strands much more complex, chaotic than linear functions from you to me.

While my hose is not reeled carefully, like you I have my own contraptions that make systematic sense.

creative commons licensed ( BY-SA ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

And now tears in the keyboard.

Me, like you, unlike you, without you, and with you all at once. Watering.

love, Alan

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4 Comments

  • Sandy Brown Jensen

    Alan,
    Thank you for honoring your father’s presence today, Father’s Day. I, too, feel my father always with me, kibbitzing, joking, telling me when to shoot a picture.

    Peter and I followed his footsteps from Omaha Beach to the liberation of St. Lo, and I told about that trip, that reencounter with his past in “Sharpshooter”:
    https://blogs.lanecc.edu/mindonfire/2014/04/01/sharpshooter/
    He died in 1979, long before the internet was born, and yet, like your father, I feel him with me every day.
    My keyboard is watered, too.

  • Judy Griffith

    Alan,
    You and I were both standing outside with our hoses watering today! I went out to pull weeds and looked at my beautiful green lawn with flowers blooming and thought about how much dad and I enjoyed digging my garden when we moved in 18 years ago. I too found myself thinking of dad and picturing him on that Ocean City beach with those giant sunglasses! Don’t laugh but I still have his old red metal hose reel!! I too feel dad with me every day.
    Love, Judy

  • Bryan Alexander

    Sweet, sweet post.

  • Harriet

    I was missing Dad too. I didn’t need to water because we’ve had so much rain. Thought about washing my car…briefly. I’m glad we have so many good memories to share.

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