Bye, Bye Miss American Pie

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"Maybe he's dead." It was supposed to be a joke. I thought he was playing a game again. He would pretend to fall asleep in his recliner and when I tried to wake him up, he would snore or lay perfectly still like a sleeping person should. The times I didn't see the edges of his lips curling up I actually believed that he was asleep. But right when he knew he fooled me he jumped up out of his chair.

"Got you!" he said and then picked me up and tickled my sides.

"Daddy!" I said. He kept tickling me until I laughed so hard I was crying.

He set me back on the ground and laughed his big, deep laugh. "You always fall for that one, " he said. "You should have seen your face. All surprised with your eyes as big as saucers!" He demonstrated an exaggerated version of my face, and poked me like I did to him when I thought he was sleeping. I laughed and retaliated, poking his belly

"How about we go get a candy bar. All this laughing made me hungry," he said and smiled. We didn't need to drive since the local gas station was only a few blocks away but we did anyway because of the radio. We rolled down the windows and blasted a country station.

"Bye-bye Miss American pie. Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry!" It was my dad's favorite song so we sang the lyrics extra loud and let the air blow through our hair.

I can still remember all the words to that song, even five years after his death.

"Maybe he's dead." It was supposed to be a joke. My dad wasn't playing a game, he wasn't pretending to be asleep and no matter how much I tried to wake him up with tears streaming down my face, he didn't.

I'll always be expecting him to pick me up and tickle me until I laugh so hard I cry. I'll always imagine him and me driving to the gas station to get candy bars. I'll always remember rolling down the windows and blaring a country station as loud as we could. And I'll never forget my dad and me singing every word to his favorite song at the top if our lungs.

"Bye-bye Miss American pie."





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