Embracing Vines

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My dad is a construction worker. To the majority of people I know, this may not seem like a job worthy of much praise, but I beg to differ. My father is a man of determination and perseverance who has restored many buildings in all his days. His 5' 11", gray and balding figure may mislead you, but he is as strong as the old oak tree growing in our backyard. He is a rod of steel in a storm, constantly battered, but never bending or swaying in the wind. He is my hero.

Growing up, my father and I were never close. I was a momma’s girl throughout my entire childhood, never quite understanding my father. But after a catastrophic event in February of my 4th grade year, I no longer had a mother to turn to. My father and I were together only a short period of time before another female figure stepped into our lives. This woman was rooted down with us for five years, but now she too is out of the picture. Our duo of durability is now learning to stand on its own again, without a mother or wife. Every day when my dad arrives home from work, drops his keys on the table, and shouts, “Lainy, I’m home,” I feel a little less alone. I walk out of my well known hiding place, the small bedroom at the end of the hall, to greet him in the kitchen where he stands a mountain all his own, protecting me from the struggles I endure.

Standing and chatting about how our days were, I think back to everything my father and I have gone through. It is hard to comprehend, or even believe, that we have conquered so much. When he has good days filled with smiles and laughter, I cannot help but join in because his joy is something to be treasured. My dad always seems to spring up with new stories of all of his journeys and experiences. They have never failed to entertain me or teach me a lesson in life. I often wonder what he has not told me, and how much more he has been through than what he says. He reminds me of Mary Poppin’s bag, you never know what you will discover.

In my eyes, my father does not look his ripe age of 56 despite some of his characteristics. His arms are tan and weathered from years of work in the sun, marked with the ever present T-shirt lines.. The tips of a few fingers are squared off from accidental sawing incidents. His face may seem hard when in his harsh, unforgiving anger spouts, but when he’s happy any signs of rage are gone and replaced with warmth and jovialness. Then there are the piercing sky blue eyes which always appear to be navigating their way through the fogged paths he treads. Hair exists on his head only on the sides, with little spurts on the top in ashen shades like the snow caps of mighty mountains.

Whenever I start to really grasp an idea of my father, my vision of him becomes swathed with untold stories and unpredictable anger. Dad and I both have our secrets but that does not keep us from being close. I feel as if we have stepped hand-in-hand onto a new undiscovered trail as we are starting over again without any help from a woman. Though it becomes treacherous and emotional, we are persistent. My father and I the vines growing on my grandmother’s house. Intertwining, separating, and joining together again. But always, always growing and covering new areas. Alan is my father, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.





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