Yesterday, Dad, you would have been 89. I could accurately call you “old man” then?
I imagine this 1926 era photo of you was taken in a photography studio, and did not launch a career as a shady film star.
The clarity and wonder in your eyes is always what captured by attention in this photo, not your baby butt.
It’s a bit boggling to think that 14 years ago I visited for your 75th birthday, then in a hospital bearing the news of the invasive cancer in your belly.
I think of you coming out of the surf in Ocean City, heroically holding the conch shell you caught with your feet. Or coming out of the ocean in high tide, with that self described “shit eating grin”.
I think of you somehow seeming meditatively happy pushing the lawn mower around the yard, or dutifully pruning the hedges of forsythia bushes in the back yard.
I think of you regularly walking our neurotic first dog, and I think of you being the one that had to take Sunny to be put down.
I think of you using a dedicated hair dryer to fan the charcoal on the barbecue. I think of you accidentally dropping the steak in the grass, quickly returning it to the grill, and saying slyly to em watching.. “that’s seasoning.”
I think of you writing letters to me in the neat block writing, words of more emotion than I ever heard spoken. I think of you doing the same writing, later, in email. I think of you showing me the folder of printed out copies of my blog posts from Australia.
I think of you in your old wooden tools I keep, some un the shed, some as art in my house.
I think of you and me in these photos in perhaps 1987 (?) and trying to sort out that in a handfull of years, I will be the age you are in the photo
Mostly, I just wanted to say how much I think of you.
Happy Birthday, Old Man.
His voice I can hear in my mind responds… “Thanks, Junior”
Top / featured image credits flickr photo by cogdogblog http://flickr.com/photos/cogdog/3226691356 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license