Saturday, July 21, 2012

Day 918: Greater than through love and support!

we are sitting here, around my dad. I am about to take the night shift. He is at his journey's end. I am not sure exactly how to describe it, but I know I am fortunate...blessed..to be able to be here. To be able to have said all that needed to be said. To be sitting here and available for him. But I was not thinking about that..or this moment.this experience as much as I was thinking about my dad.

Am I greater than because of him?

See..like most father's and sons, it is complicated and we have this wonderful tradition in the south that when the final bell is tolled for our departed all of a sudden its "bless his heart" and "what a powerful man" and on and on. The other stuff, well...not so much. But, what relationship does not have pain, mistakes, major issues? Not one that I can think of...not one that does not have a whole lot of love and a long history...a lot of trying and being there for each other....a lot of pride in each other. A lot...and I mean a lot of forgiveness....on everyone's part. and even more accepting each other for who and what we are or what we become.

And so hear we are...my daddy and me....and it is his time to transition and I am full of love. period. He told me he loved me. he told me he was proud of me. and I got to tell him the same. We laughed a little..and we told stories. OH MY..if you think I am a story teller, you ain't heard nothing like my daddy tell a story.

and then....there is that question...am I greater than through the love and support of this man....
well...

there were the summer's...just daddy and me in the warehouses on the tobacco market. i saw the pride in my daddy's face when he introduced me to the other buyers and folks...he loved me and gave me such an  amazing summer.  He let me loose in the warehouses on the golf carts and then let me follow the sale as the auctioneers went on and Daddy got the best of the best and the auctioneer proclaimed that bale REYNOLDS!...He took me took me to South of the Border from chadburn as my "treat" and for years I thought that was the mexican border (don't judge me...Pedro said it!) and he let me buy firecrackers that are stories in and of themselves. Each year down there, like clockwork, I would have an asthma attack and end up in some columbus county hospital and he sat there through the night with me just like I am sitting here now. The next day getting a coke and a nab and back at it.

there were those tomato sandwiches with duke's mayonaise, white bread and salt and pepper.

there was showing me that a jar of water in the refrigerator is as good as any fine champagne...and in the summer tastes much sweeter

there were those go carts that made him say "damnit" like it was the only word in his vocabulary..but when we got them going and went on the track around the field and spent all day at it..he was the happiest in the world we were having a good time.

there was seeing me play in Mr. Petty's car..yep...Richard. He carried that car around for him and it was parked in our back yard...I loved climbing into that car and playing behind the wheel..and seeing daddy's face as I did.

there were those Christmas's..Lord those Christmas's. Everyone trying so hard..ours was the first divorce in the family and everyone tried to make it "Normal". we would be picked up and daddy would have all the presents Santa left at his house, all place in piles, specific to us....so much...so carefully gotten.

there were those trips to myrtle beach each year staying with the owners of the Royal Villa off the main stip. Daddy in the waves with me, riding them as good as I did and when I big one came, proclaming "here comes the judge"....then helping me build castles..even though he would much rather be at the pool at the hotel. And God. those thousands of hours this poor man had to spend playing and perfecting ski ball with me or going through the Gay Dolphin to get "just the right gifts" for people when I got home. and the seafood...driving to calabash...thank God for that gift!..yep..definitley greater for knowing Hushpuppies and fried shrimp.

there were those saturday's when he had me polish shoes. Shoes were to be polished. Always. and they were to be done right. we did that together and I still do it right.

There were those starched shirts...shirts are to be starched...and monograms are a good thing even if your initials are LSD.

there were those trips to Max Sox barber sharp everytime I was with him. Necks are to be clean and shaved and nails are to be trim and clean and we did this together. I learned the art of banter at that place and did not even know it at the time.

There were those Sunday mornings....oh we were going to church. that is the way the world works. Not going to church means the world ends! :) and when that collection plates comes around, if you are old enough to sit in a pew, you are old enough to put money in that plate..and he always had a dollar for me to give. It was my first lesson in giving...interestingly, in the drawer next to where I sit, there is an envelope of nothing but 1$ bills. That means a lot to me and every child who knows my daddy.

There were those sunday mornings in church where you listened even if you wanted to sleep. :) and oh did we want to sleep! but that is where I learned some lessons on respect and being available even when i did not agree. and then we sang...and daddy's deep voice always three octaves below the melody...after church there was the shaking of hands and speaking and family. no rushing.

there were those sunday dinners at Grandma Dean's. Time with family. Being togehter. the adults at the big table, the children, sometimes with Uncle Marshel at the folding table, but everyone together. Daddy saw to this for us. He would say to love your "roots" to know this and to be proud of it.

there was setting up the tables for the dean reunion, just him and me. Making sure it was done right like Aunt Annie and making sure that the table clothes were straight and the poinsettas were perfect and there were enough for each of the women in the family to take home....and that there was mountain dew for the grandchildren, stephenson's bbq a plenty and the fire in the firepalce in the fellowship hall was perfect. 

There were those drives to panther lake, granville county and other places where daddy showed me where my great grandparents farmed, how they lived, and what was left of those places. Daddy walked me through his memories and gave me stories and shared with me some of who he was.

There were those visits to graves and setting out flowers. That was so very important to him that the flowers be changed regularly and that there was always something that showed love and care for those who had passed. He let me be a part of that with him.

there was showing up in Carrboro when I was so very sick and lost as a teenager. He, in his own way was there and showed up for me.

(It was at this moment, when I had finished typing this. I had looked up a minute before and Daddy was breathing, but when i put the period on this sentence, my brother in law said, "Bo I think he has stopped". It took me a moment, but i knew exactly what he meant. I looked up and daddy had stopped breathing. he had quietly left room. Sometime I will write more about this, but tomorrow is the funeral and I want very much to finish these memories. I may not be able to finish them all, but I want to do what i can while it is fresh in my mind....)

there was teaching me to know the name of who you do business with and look them in the eye when you do it. and if they do you wrong more then once...move on. but give everyone a chance.

there was teaching me to keep my eye on the ball when I took my swing with a golf club, even though he threatened to tie my head to something rather delicate to ensure that i did...at least i never forgot.

there was taking tim and me to the barn and teaching us how to shoot.

there was giving a wedding present to his son and son in law..that was a huge and one I will never forget..

there were the millions of hours talking democratic politics and his deep desire to see our world better and all he did to try and make it so. 

there telling me jokes and stories that will live in my mind and heart the rest of my life.

there was so much more that is absolutely impossible to capture in some blog post.,,,but at the end of the day...I know now that the imperfect perfection that is a parent is a blessing that I am grateful I understood before the end was just that.....a blessing. I am who I am because of my parents. I am part my daddy and I am VERY proud of that. I am very blessed by that and I am so very grateful that at the end, I could be there to say thank you to him.


5 comments:

Kathy Bundy said...

The circle of life continues. What he was given, he passed on to you, and you pass it along in turn. Thank you for this loving reflection.

Kit Cosper said...

An incredible tribute to your Daddy. It's amazing how many experiences you recount that I could have written about my Daddy. Be well.

Lynn Heritage said...

This is absolutely beautiful, Bo. It's wonderful that you have such special memories. Your dad sounds like a very good man and your tribute to him is heart-rendering. Wishing you peace in your grieving process.

elin said...

so much love here and there and in you and from you, thank you and thank you to your father, who is in heaven.

Just Keepin It Real, Folks! said...

You have me crying big crocodile tears. Your Daddy sounds like an amazing person. Obviously the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. So very sorry for your loss.