Last night, MEG wanted to play school. This involves me sitting in one of her (small) chairs, and filling out worksheets that she has made up previously. Occasionally, there is a craft that she demonstrates and I get to work on.
Last night’s craft was a hand-made “kite” folded out of a sheet of regular paper. The instructions were to tape a piece of ribbon for the tail, and then to color the kite and to make it a Father’s Day kite.
Dad passed away on September 3, 1992. It was the morning of my parent’s 43rd wedding anniversary. I was living in California at the time, with my first wife and her two daughters. I got the call at work (this was pre-cell, remember?), my first wife breaking the news to me in a straight-forward way. “[Sister] just called, your Dad passed away this morning.” A blood clot had broken free in his leg and traveled up to his heart.
So-called “bereavement” rates on airlines meant that the airlines would jack the prices higher than the planes could fly. You see, you book at the last minute, so you have to pay a premium price plus all kinds of fees. Living on the Central Coast of California at the time (north of SLO, in Atascadero) meant the closest airport of any size was two hours away in Santa Barbara. Instead, I drove. Jumped in my Mazda 626 (sure wish I still had that car) and drove like a bat outta hell. Passing through Kingman, I hit a construction patch that tore a hole in one of my tires. I put on the temporary spare and limped up to the truckstops east of Kingman. I pulled into a tire place and got a new tire, and headed on to Flagstaff. I spent a short night at Lea Ann’s house, then in the morning headed down to Tucson. [Younger Brother] didn’t want to go in and see Dad; the rest of us there went up and had a viewing. Dad looked like he had fallen asleep in front of the football game. No, that’s wrong. Dad looked like he was studying the strategy of the football teams on TV.
We saw him there, in a hospital bed, because there was to be no burial or cremation – he had donated his body to the UA medical department for cancer research.
After the priest held a private service in the living room of Mom and Dad’s home, in Tucson Estates, I went home.
All of these memories came rushing over me as my beautiful daughter watched me making the Father’s Day kite. She went out to her Mommy and said “Daddy’s crying!” She was worried that she had done something wrong, or that I didn’t love her anymore because I was crying. We spent the next while explaining to her that sometimes, tears were happy tears. I tried to put into words just how much my Dad would have loved her.
Chat ya later…
Thanks for stopping by, In GOD We Trust, and Wear Red on Fridays!