Friday, August 1, 2008
Happy Birthday, Dad
Hi Dad, and Happy Birthday!
I really don't even know how old you would have been today. And it would take some figuring to know the year you were married and the year that you died.
Time has passed and we go on.
Although ages and dates have escaped me, there are things I do still remember about you.
I guess you could say it's the important stuff...
Like how hard you worked, how loyal you stayed to Mom, and how much you loved us. Funny thing is, we knew you loved us without you having to say a word. A silent, undying bond that still remains strong even across the borders of Heaven and Earth.
I remember your old green chair. Measled with cigarette burns and dusted with cracker crumbs. And everything seemed to have the strong smell of tobacco and the faint smell of bologna.
I remember watching you eat in that chair, glasses half cocked, a smudged Western paperback in one hand, rolled up Blue Bell lunch meat in the other. And the whole time, your toes wiggling on the Lazy Boy footrest.
It was your chair and we respected that. But sometimes we couldn't wait till you left for work, just so we could crawl up and be enveloped in cushions where your warmth had been, where your back had molded soft, rich curves and where we'd snuggle into the aroma of Old Spice and popcorn.
I remember lying in bed at night, hearing your radio in the next room, humming out sounds of KMOX and Harry Caray announcing swings and pitches. Your Camel cigarette would glow like a red dot in the darkness. And I would close my eyes and go to sleep because I knew you were right there in the next room and I felt safe.
I remember you taking us to the Texaco station whenever you got gas. We had to take turns going with you because you could only take two of us. And there was eight of us then! The lucky ones got to put a quarter in the vending machine and crank out a cold, glass bottle of chocolate soda. Mmmmm!
We had a wonderful Christmas every year. Somehow you and Mom managed to fill them all with magic. It wasn't about the toys and presents back then. It was the atmosphere, the excitement, the smell of stuffed turkey roasting and hot coffee perking and a real Christmas tree- luminous with lights and awkward placed ornaments.
As we grew older, we began to realize the sacrifices and expense you dealt with in raising our family. And though it was never mentioned, our love grew even deeper and our respect abounding.
I remember your false teeth and your many hats and your affection for buffets that served stewed tomatoes and sauerkraut.
I remember your postman uniform, your slippers by the door, you bringing home Dixie Cream Donuts when the church people came to visit.
And finally,I remember you sitting in your chair on the porch, watching as the world passed by and time ran out.
Remember knowing how you just wanted someone to come see you - to fry you an egg or fix you up a mess of steak fries.
I wish you were here now- I'd make you pork chops with grease gravy and home made biscuits and gravy. I'd fry you a dozen eggs and pounds of fries and we'd eat bologna and crackers and mash our butter and jelly up for our toast. And maybe we'd listen to a ballgame on the radio and I'd curl up in your chair for awhile and then I would hug you super tight and tell you that I love you.
You were a great dad and looking back on my life, I want to thank you for helping make my childhood such a sweet journey. I miss you, Dad.