Late January and my thoughts turn, as they always do, to my Father. His birthday was January 22. I meant to write this on your birthday, Père. Life and tiredness got in the way. No matter. It gave me more time to collect my thoughts.
I am a big believer in who or what we hold closest to our hearts we rarely, if ever, speak of. I rarely speak of you. Yet, you are always with me. Always. Always. Always. I hear your voice in my ear all the time.
So many thoughts of you.
Thoughts of the time you took that Oceanography class and we went on the field trip on Long Island Sound in February. As they'd say in England, it was perishing that day. Getting to go inside New London Ledge Lighthouse — what a rare treat. Whenever I see that lighthouse, I think of you and that day.
The countless peanut butter and butter saltines I'd make you. They constitute a meal, don't they? They certainly do hit the spot.
The trips to Vermont where Paula and Linda would pack me off with you, no doubt thrilled that I was gone for an entire weekend. Me, telling you that I'd stay awake the entire way there and keep you company. Falling asleep while we were not even out of Haddam and waking up in Vermont — way up near the Canadian border. I still love the cool night air and still fall asleep in the car. Some things never ever leave you.
All the times you'd come and pick me up no matter where I was. Switching to French so no one would know what we were saying. You morphing into Père and Mom becoming Mère. And it has stuck to this day.
Shannon. I found out exactly what she was after doing much research online. She was a red golden retriever. The only thing on this earth that I loved as much as I loved you. And she loved you too. What a lucky girl I was to have you both.
All of the American Standard songs that you'd listen to from the Great American Songbook. Love them all to this day.
About a year or so ago I had a surreal experience. It was a lovely spring day in the late afternoon. Someone had called me while I was en route to a doctor's appointment. So I pulled into a school parking lot to take the call. Soon another car drove into the parking lot. A father got out of the car and went inside the school. A few minutes later he and his daughter emerged from the school. She in a Brownie uniform, chatting away animatedly, sundry items in her hands and pouring out of her backpack.
Before they drove off, he put the top down on the car and they drove away. No doubt she was still chattering away, telling him all that had transpired in school that day, oblivious to the fact that it was all about her in his eyes.
I sat there taking it all in. It was like watching my childhood self. I sent the girl a telepathic message telling her, in effect, to relish such moments as it doesn't ever get any better than that. To have your father all to yourself and to have him listen to you and validate you and love you for the person you are. No, it really doesn't get any better than that — ever.
So it is that I am thinking of you today, Père.
Avec amour toujours,
P.S. I chose this song just for you, Père. Ella Fitzgerald, your favorite. The voice exudes timeless class and sophistication...so reminiscent of you. Love the simple piano accompaniment.
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