I was still young enough to want to hear what my dad had to say. And he was still young enough to be attending college. It was just the local community college and I don’t remember what he was studying but I knew he loved to draw. He had an easel/drafting table set up in the laundry room.
My mom’s sister had given it to him. I think it was to inspire him to follow his dream. Maybe he was studying art; he would draw cartoons on our bellies with a ball-point pen – until our pediatrician lovingly scolded him.
The laundry room was not air-conditioned or as they say now, climate-controlled. I can’t imagine how dreams could stay alive in that South Texas heat and humidity; or how the sketch pad didn’t melt.
With just barely enough room to stand in front of the washer and dryer, he squeezed that table in. Our small house was already crowded. We didn’t just bring home abandoned dogs; one of us was regularly bringing home a stray kid.
After dad started going to college, (and while he was still working shift-work at the plant and coaching little-league) he brought home some albums for us to listen to. Mostly I remember Simon and Garfunkel, Santana and Carol King. He painted the boy’s room with black-light paint, and put up posters. I remember the one poster that said “Slow Down, You’re Moving Too Fast.”
He knew our lives were moving fast and that we would stop listening to him soon. It happens to every parent and child.Dad died in 2002. He was 66. He wasn’t that much older than I am now (63.999…) My life continued on.
Recently, I got to be around my grown children. They all live in the Pacific Northwest. They were very connected to my dad, and we were fortunate enough to have shared both simple times and amazing adventures with him.
During this visit, I saw parts of my dad in the way my grown children have matured into solid, loving parents. Seeing him in some of their mannerisms, hearing my son’s happy laugh sounding so much like my dad’s was a true gift.
Happy Father’s Day Dad. Lucky me, I still hear you.