Thoughts On Father's Day

Every Springtime, you would take the porch furniture out into the back yard and wash each piece down, the soap suds dripping off the dark wood frames like stars rotating out of a morning sky. The criss-crossing ropes that held the cushions would be wet as well, and if I twanged one like a guitar string, grasshopper drops would jump off, which delighted me.

These were Saturdays when you were home and relaxed. I would lie in the fragrant new grass underneath the frame of the porch couch, and poke my stuffed toy White Fang's head up through the ropes of our make-believe submarine. "All clear, Captain," White Fang would report. I was always a watcher. And did you know, Daddy, that when I watched you, you were blessed and could do no wrong?

Once, my older brother invaded my little hideaway and stole White Fang. He held him out of my reach with his long arms until I cried, disgusting him by "being such a girl." Always was, always will be. Try and stop me.

So, I stole away to a different spot in the yard, and brought my puppets, Pretty Horse and Charlie Boy, with me. My grandmother had made them. They were gray felt with black yarn manes. Together, we made a world, until, looking up, we saw that the yard was empty except for the drying porch furniture. I set my horses in their shoebox barn and went inside.

There you were, watching W.C. Fields on the den tv. He was one of the gifts you gave me, along with Buster Keaton and all the rest. I am still not quite convinced you didn't invent them personally, so that we could laugh together. Mom would walk through, take a look and shake her head, never understanding what we thought was so funny. She thought we were crazy. I watched her fill her days with never-ending chores she clearly hated, and thought that she had to be the crazy one. I swore I would be never be like her. Turning back to the movie, I decided that being Mae West looked like a lot more fun.

You brought me so many things that made me happy, Daddy. Things I still love today, like slapstick, like chocolate, like books. They, and you, will be part of my heart until the day I die. But oh, the thing about loving is that it goes hand in hand with losing. Work, ambition, secrecy, a woman, and eventually California all took you away from me. I have missed you all of my life, since then.  My brother held White Fang over his head, and taught me about not being able to reach someone I loved. Eventually, I got White Fang back. 

I know you didn't believe in a life after this one, Daddy. But I do. Will I find you again, like I found White Fang, one day? And this time, will you let me tell you how much I love you? Because I do, and I always have.

Happy Father's Day.




CiCi said…
What a sweet letter to your dad. I know he is receiving it and smiling.
I like your memories of watching him.
Riot Kitty said…
Awwwwww! You absolutely will find him again.
Ileana said…
You received so much from your father, things you could never lose. Even if you never find him again (I hope you do) you still have a part of him.

Hugs and happy wishes!

mac said…
I think he's still there, in your heart.
You will never lose him as long as you keep him there.
TALON said…
I, like Mac, believe its the memories that keep someone alive. And hopefully nothing ever steals them from you, sweet Shay. xx
Joanna Jenkins said…
Lovely post Shay. i miss my dad too and hope I get to see him one day again. I hope the same for you and your dad.
xo jj
Senorita said…
Awww, this made me tear up ! California seems to take a lot of people away, doesn't it ? Coming to California temporarily took my dad away from me too.

I know your dad is with you in your heart. I am definitely a strong believer in that.
Cloudia said…
just lovely, Shay
Mojo said…
I hope when my great-gettin'-up mornin' comes that my kids remember me half this fondly. Awesome Shay.
Kay said…
if you stare long enough in one spot, perhaps you'll know he's sitting on the couch next to you laughing at all those CSI's with you...

very sweet tribute, dear one.
Maude Lynn said…
This is beautiful, Shay.
Truth Ferret said…
I was with you in the story of your childhood. I felt the hope of washing away winter's grime and starting fresh. Those stars and shows were also part of my childhood. You are the fortunate one to have precious memories of a father who was connected with you at one point in your life.