I’m returning from a trip to Seattle and staying at my grandparents in Naples for the first time this year.
There is a photo of my father, a great photo of him in his pilot uniform on a jetway, that nobody knew existed until he died.
We all have copies of it on the wall now. It hangs in my fathers bedroom here. I settle down and thumb through his bible.
I never thought about my father having a bible until they asked if I wanted it.
As I’ve been collecting oral history from my grandfather Wilbur, I’ve been thinking about my physical being in the same place as my ancestors. As I wander from project to project with him I get little stories about my father, pointing out the support they had built over the bulldozer for working on it.
I can’t picture my father working on a bulldozer. I never saw that. M used to give me a hard time about ending up like my father, which was selfish, harsh and unreasonable in retrospect. But ironic now, as I see how much I am like a father that I never knew.
I don’t mean as much as tragedy, really. Most probably never know their parents that way except maybe through stories by their friends.
In the morning I sit upstairs at the familiar table looking out over the lake. I remember sitting here silently with my father on similar mornings.
I always felt and believed that was our connection, we could occupy space together with an ease that felt perfect.
My Dads friend and roommate Stan had tried to get me to move back in once, before Seattle. It wouldn’t have been right. We were living different lives. Still, that was when we were perfecting this ability to be.
I was one of the reference birthdays in this family. Great Grammie Mae would have been 100 this year, Grampie Bud is 80, Dad would have been 60, I am 30, and my cousin AJ is 20.
2012 is mostly definitely a new year. I have lived so long waiting for life to start. Looking at my gray hair in the mirror in Seattle I was thinking about my health and how I’ve lived. I’ve lived so much in this last decade.
Now, with Kate, I think we are ready.