My father has started appearing in my dreams lately. That hasn’t happened for a long time, and is a sure sign that I’m upset about something and looking for safety and security. When Daddy is in a dream, he’s usually watching from the sidelines; he doesn’t take action. I guess even my subconscious knows that he’s been gone a long time. Butthat longing to feel safe and taken care of will never go away, however old I may get.
I just realized today, Father’s Day, that Daddy died 40 years ago. Forty years! And I’m nearly the age that he was when he died of a sudden heart attack, chopping wood in the back yard at the farm. It was hard to be young in a crazy time without his presence. Sometimes I wonder how much he would have liked the adult I became. I’m pretty sure he would have disapproved of many of the choices I made. But I am sure he would never have stopped loving me.
I want to remember the good things, the tiny jewel-like memories that still remain: Daddy taking me to the department store (McClellan’s) and buying the doll I had wanted for so long, a small one in a green dress; Daddy standing with a group of uncles and cousins at a relative’s wake (we called it “receiving friends”) and laughing at Uncle Fatty’s jokes; Daddy coming in from the fields for lunch and drinking sweetened iced tea from a giant glass, which I still have. His khaki work clothes, how hard he had to scrub his hands with Lava soap to get the dirt and grease off from working in the fields or at Uncle Preston’s garage. Watching our black and white TV in the dark while he smoked a cigarette.
I miss him every day. I’m sending out my love to him, and to all the fathers and uncles and brothers and grandpas who are father figures for children everywhere. Happy Father’s Day!