Walking close next to me on a snow-covered sidewalk in downtown Salt Lake City. In front of me my husband carrying our newborn in her little carry car seat.
Outburst of uncontrollable laughter in the bedroom next door every time Mad Mad Mad Mad World would air on TV.
Calmly, methodically sending the brush on its long pole carefully down the side of the pool. Working his way slowly around its circumference.
The inevitable, yet always expected, “Hoooome Sweet Home” as we crossed into our driveway returning from a family trip.
Dancing in the winery amphitheater for his anniversary party.
Holding my mother’s hand in the church pews during service.
Standing beside me, walking me through the backyard he had cleaned meticulously on my way to be married.
The spontaneous hug for my Mother at the sink after dinner.
“I’m really proud of you” or “Your Mother and I are so proud of you” after graduation from UC Davis. No doubt from Sacramento State, Santa Rosa Junior College and Marin Catholic High School as well— but I don’t remember those.
Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline blasting from the stereo
Fixing everything. Everything.
Sitting back, stirring his coffee and taking in the Christmas dinner conversation around him. Catching my eye and sending a laser wink in my direction.
“How’s my girlfriend?” asking about our daughter, across the miles.
Washing, scrubbing car grease off his hands before meals.
Fishing off the dock. Feeding the ducks. Relaxing on the deck. Putting the boat into Clear Lake. Taking the boat out of Clear Lake.
Teaching me how to water ski. Circling. Circling. Circling the boat until I popped up out of the water…or gave up for another day.
Letting me drive the boat on his lap. The yellow floaty boat key swaying, jingling as we bounced along the surface.
Year after year, as we both grew older, the back of his head, the right side of his face, from my vantage point in the back seat of the car.
Quickly, quietly pressing some money in my hand after a visit before returning to college.
Sitting on the back of a red Honda motorbike, hanging onto his middle on a winding road to church.
Lifting the storage door, De Soto peeking out from below, “Do you want it?” sheepish grin he could barely contain.
Easy chairs throughout the years, Scarlett or Kelly on his lap. Reclined.
The now-frequent, not forced, often preceding mine, “I love you” that he drops at the end of a conversation.
Lingering images like dust specks. Definable with shape. Tiny wisps of fleeting moments. Swept together from all corners and across the floors of my mind into one discernible pile of overriding feelings of Love, Gratitude, Honour, Respect and Awe.
Happy 87 years of living Dad.
What an exceptional gift, not just to your father, rather to us all. The minutia of life’s moments, like stardust, all coming together to create the milky way. Your tribute is exceptional and, simply, heartwarming.
What an absolutely beautiful, simple, meaningful way to celebrate your Dad. I hope you celebrate his birthday together for many years to come. What a wonderful man.