Friday Photo #33
Twenty years ago today, the phone rang at 3am. Even before I answered it, I knew my Dad was dead. The ring actually sounded different. Sadder. Final. And I just...knew.
I'm not a big proponent of visiting the dead at cemeteries. I used to make the rounds with my parents (the unofficial family crypt keepers) to the various familial resting places to pay respects to a number of relatives, most of whom I'd never met. As a child I thought it was kind of interesting, but mainly it was just an excuse to get out of the house and explore unfamiliar areas of town.
Yesterday Big Mar and I took flowers to my Father's grave site. I felt compelled to go. Twenty years is a big number. It seemed appropriate, necessary. It was a beautiful day, much like the day he died. A gorgeous, balmy October afternoon filled with sunshine and long shadows.
We lovingly arranged bouquets of mums and lilies, washed the built up dirt from the marker and stood there, each of us silently remembering him in our own private way.
As I've written in a posting not long ago here, my Dad wasn't always the easiest to love, but he did have a spark, a charm and a big heart.
You know why I like this photo? It's my old man at his favorite place: perched on a bar stool, smoking a hand-rolled cigarette, drinking a shot and beer, waiting for his fried smelts. A sincerely unguarded moment of happiness.
Twenty years is a long time. Sometimes it seems like just yesterday...
So today, in honor of my Dad, I will raise a glass of hootch and toast his memory. Salut!
I miss him still.