Today I love fond memories of my father over the past sixty years of my life. I love that I often think of him when I open my mouth to say something casual and offhand, and when I thought I was speaking I’d hear his voice coming out of my mouth instead. I love that I knew him for this long. I love that I got to say goodbye and he got to respond. I love that I have written about him before and will likely do so again. I love that he was part of my very great childhood and youth. I love that there were many times we laughed, laughed at me, laughed at him, laughed at the rest of the world, laughed at our own imaginations. I love that he seemed so casual about life and yet in the end he seemed to have had it all planned out all along, what job he needed to do to provide for his family, what job he needed to do to get him to his pension, when to retire, what to do then, what to do when he was unwell. I love that he seemed to know when to say, “So long.” How did he know that? I love that he almost always understood me, though he didn’t always agree with me.
Today I love that I am my father’s son, similar in construction, and yet so very different in execution, he the pragmatist, me the poet, he the sportsman, me the artist, he the reader, me the writer. I love that we found common ground at every turn, though sometimes that ground was just a strip of border land. I love that fences can be good places to meet and talk over, and that there were never walls between our lives, though sometimes we resided far from those fences. I love that we were never out of reach, even when we were out of sight of each other. I love that my memories of my father include him taking us sailing when we went to visit his home town, and that he was so at home out on the water, and I still wonder if there is some genetic piece to the puzzle that is me, that calls me out onto the water when I need to be at peace.
Today I love that my father told me on more than one occasion that he was proud of me, and that always felt good. I love that it took me a long time to figure out that my best was all I needed to do to make my parents proud, and now I think I’ve got it, though it isn’t always easy. I love that it is easy to keep trying.
Today I love drinking coffee and remembering my father on this first full day of my being an orphan.