Sometimes TV can really affect what's going on with me. Last night's television included a show where a boy's father lapsed into a coma and the show focused on the spirituality aspect of having faith. And, that has affected Way Back Wednesday.
This picture is of a Norman Rockwell plate. Rob collects these and he has quite a few. He ordered this one for me. And, when it came in and he showed it to me, it touched my heart so much that I had to close it back up in the box and put it away for a while. This morning, I hunted it down to share and it will stay out and find a place where I can see it.
Other than the father's glasses and the boy's blond hair, this IS a memory of mine. It comes from way back. A memory of us in church. My specific church memories put my Dad in the choir loft. But there were times when the choir was released into the congregation and there were times before he joined the choir that he sat with us; my Mom, my sisters and me. And, those times form a more general memory.
My Dad is a quiet man. Except when he's laughing. He has an infectious laugh and a great sense of humor. He has an intense devotion to family and to God. He claims not to understand some things, but he also has the ability to look past what he doesn't understand to see a person's successes or troubles.
If anybody needed help and he knew about it, he was there. Quietly. And, any time that we needed help, there was someone there. Just as quietly. Proving he was well respected by his peers.
He could tell a story and get the most out of the telling, making people laugh at intervals while he talked. And, he would come home from work and tell jokes. I can remember times when he sat with his brother and sisters and they would tell stories from their childhood and laugh until they cried at the funny things that had happened. He was next to youngest after a long line of girls and apparently, was carried until his feet drug the ground before they made him learn to walk. And there's a picture of him the year he didn't get a horse for Cmas, sulking in the background.
My Dad and I don't have a whole bunch in common. We can talk about my quilting successes unless I need to describe a technique and we can talk about gardening and daylilies. We talk a lot about the weather and our various aches and pains. And getting older. Sometimes we talk about old times. And, I recently took his investment advice and moved my retirement account to a safer bet, after all, it worked very well for him. He doesn't tell me he's disappointed in me and he doesn't tell me I'm bad or wrong. And, he always sounds happy to hear my voice when I call. And, some things don't need to be said in words. They're said in tone of voice and peaceful discourse and the ability to relax around one another. Even if one of us falls asleep. And, we always end our conversations with I love you.
I remember that he was willing to help wash the dishes and bathe the babies and clean the house when needed. And, I remember that some other dads got angry about that willingness (because they didn't want to do those things). I remember learning to grill from him and walking in front of him while he pushed the lawnmower. I remember the only time I ever saw him use a sewing machine to hem a pair of pants one Sunday before church (I was mystified that he knew how). And, I remember him driving everywhere we went. And, fixing a series of old cars and trucks. I remember him crying at funerals and at weddings. And I know that seeing him do these things gave me permission to do them, too.
I wonder how different our relationship would be if I had stayed in my hometown. I'm sure we would have everyday things in common and it would be easier to talk. But, then, if I had stayed there, I would not be who I am now. Choices mean taking one road and leaving another behind and I am sure I took the road that was intended for me. Just as sure as I am that we all look back and wonder about the road we didnt' take.
I know my Mom is going to call my Dad in to read this, so...
I love you Daddy and hope you are doing well. And, I wish I could think to say all these things when we're talking, but I don't. I hope you know them nonetheless.
Happy Way Back Wednesday. Lane