Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day.

"You have to put that worm on yourself," Papa said, as dirt squirmed through my fingers. I would have to do something about this nightcrawler, it seemed. Something, that is, if I wanted to fish. And then, I'd have to unhook the fish or tree limb. Whichever caught first. That was the deal. There was no sugar, coating my childhood; yet, it holds the sweetest memories, watering the sweetest of dreams. Good hibernates there, and when spring is long in coming, it is the place to which I go to be reminded that goodness, beauty, and green, still does exist in this world.....if only sometimes in childish dreams.

"That's rigor mortis" Papa said, answering my child-eye's silent question as we lifted a white calf's body into a shallow winter's grave. He had seen it in humans, he said. Bundled in my red-quilted jacket, I shivered from else than the cold.

"That's life" Papa said, when it got so bitter I couldn't swallow any more -- please, take from me this cup. "Try Tums, they cure everything," he typed with a :-) dad can always make me laugh, drying my tears with his humor. Like the Big Fat Greek Papa and his Windex -- Tums for heartaches...Tums for soul aches. And on occasion, Tums for heartburn.

I smile when he calls me "sweetheart" and still feel beautiful from years ago, hurt, and jaded about men I chopped my waist-length hair off. Men liked my, off it went. That would fix the problem. Yet Papa said, "that's not what makes you beautiful, Erin."

I feel able and independent when he shows me how to use powertools (having eye protection laid out for my mother's benefit of course). But -- I never use those, Papa says, Tim the Toolman wouldn't.

We grunt and laugh.

"You're cool," he tells me now, and my awkward introverted self actually feels 'cool' when he says it. While my dad didn't get to have any sons, my sister and I are about as close to a boy as a girl can get. She climbs rocks / I fish waters. Most days, we are both covered in goodly amounts of dirt rather than drama. He gives us power tools for Christmas presents --- and we use them. I suppose we could be called his daugh-sons....sounding a bit like his first pick-up truck

Little girls learn what men are from their dads. Like being on a hunt, we sit in blinds guided by our mothers, and watch and learn and take note. I watched. I learned. And I learned about more than men by reading my dad --  I learned life. Yes, in watching as I grew up, but moreso now hundreds of miles away, through his written words.

My dad lives in light of his death. Oh, he is still alive and well, and drinking Pepsi in Nebraska. No months have been sentenced to his life....and yet, they are. We all have only months to live, we just don't know how many. My dad knows this, he sees the ending of the sentences, he knows the pain of periods, and he lives because of it..... wise because of it.

I read his wisdom.....
.....and live because of it.

He deals in death, every day. Gathering cremated remains of life's hopes, dreams, and loves, he gives them -- as beauty, for grief through ashes. Looking into his eyes, I know he carries those ashes with him -- they are heavier than you'd think, and they don't blow away with the wind -- but maybe....maybe, it's in the waters...

.....the waters, floating away the ash, authoring a beautiful life...

Thank you Papa, for teaching me.  


  1. A beautiful tribute to what can only be a remarkable man. Look what he's created.

  2. When did you find time to hang out with this guy? I never saw you leave. Stop the madness. pa

  3. Dads ehh, what would we do without them? :):):)

    Eloquently put as ever Erin

  4. Erin, "Good hibernates there,.....if only sometimes in childish dreams." We all hopefully are lucky enough to have a lair full of this "Good" to carry us through the bumps and bruises of adulthood.

    Mike, I ditto the thought "Look what he created" thanks

    Bryan, as usual sprinkling life with humor. We love you


  5. Wow, Erin. " dirt rather than drama" Loved it.

  6. You have such a remarkable way of painting pictures with words. (I think that trait runs in the family)Your relationship with your dad (actually your whole family) also paints a beautiful portrait of yourself. Happy Father's Day Brian...

  7. Very nice tribute to a very special person in your life.

  8. Many thanks to you all...

    Pa - ha! Yeah, I snuck off and was hangin' round with a strange man...tsk, tsk, tsk! ;-)

  9. Wow Erin. Just wow. Beautiful post.

  10. Coming from a family of five boys,when we had our daughter, I wasn't quite sure what to do. Now I don't know where I'd be without her. Your relationship with your father is awesome. As is your honor and respect. Nicely done e.

  11. John, Ty, and Herringbone -- thanks for reading, and for your good words...

  12. I have two daugh-sons. They seem to have inherited my attitude. Abrupt, to the point, don't waste my time... But always very pleasant about it.

    Not convinced yet that this is a good thing :-)

    There's no such thing as too many power tools.

    Very nice.

  13. Ken G - I'm very much like my dad as well, and I'm not sure he is convinced that is a good thing either. I'm glad you have daugh-sons too! ;)

  14. Awesome post and really great writing. I look forward to following your future posts.

  15. Kev2380 - Many thanks! And glad to have you following along!

  16. I'm absolutely in love with your writing.

    And I really hope I have that kind of relationship with my daughter (she's only 2 now).

  17. Rob - Thank you, thank you! Take your daughter will. :)

  18. This makes me want to thank the men that were good influences in my life. I can count them on one hand and love them dearly.

    I envy the relationship that you had/have with your parents. It's beautiful and I'm glad that you cherish it the way you do. So many, especially youth, don't realize what they have in their lives. You are an exception...

  19. Thanks Red...and yes, thank those men!