Not Your Fault, Daddy

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I remember my father’s laughter at the dinner table, reviving old stories of the sisters we all used to be, and old jokes that had been told so long, you could make a pun out of a pun. I remember my father when I finished like a pro in the 800 run that day at the home track meet. I remember my father walking round the track on chilly March mornings and windy November afternoons, and me going with him and feeling like an idiot when I couldn’t keep up to my own father.

I remember my father’s brief message to me via email at Sjölunden – “I love you two times as much. Smile for the cameras. Latt som en platt.” I cried over that part of the email. My sisters made me laugh, but my father made me cry.

I remember my father when I came home from Sjölunden with a thousand, thousand stories to tell, and how I came suddenly around the corner and found myself at the glass doors I had seen my own relatives come through so many times, and suddenly there they were, the family I had not seen for two weeks, and I unexpectedly cried, and despite my poor mother and ridiculous sisters crying too, my dad didn’t worry about the two tears standing in his eyes.

I remember my father when he would mysteriously appear at junior high track meets. I remember my father when we used to play basketball in the driveway. I remember my father grilling hamburger while my sisters and I defied gravity on the trampoline and my dog defied sanity in circles around the yard.

I remember how my father always says whenever I start crying, “I didn’t mean to make you upset,” and I always return with, “It’s not your fault.” Crying isn’t a bad thing, Dad. It isn’t your fault that I cry.

I remember my father when he got that horrible eye infection and went into the hospital on my first day of kindergarten. I remember being utterly shocked that someone as invincible as my dad could look as sick as that. I had already figured out that my mother was human, but Daddy was invincible until I saw him there in the hospital.

I remember my father when he would come home from work in those far-away days before I had ever gone to school. His big green wool coat that would scratch my cheek when he hugged me. Watching him lift my younger sister up into the air. Having a hundred things to tell him.

I remember my father when I was tiny, maybe two or three, and he would “snuggle” with me in bed at night before I went to sleep and we would recite the state capitals. My dad made sure I knew them all before my third birthday. I never wanted to go to sleep. I loved our special time, just my daddy, me and the darkness.

I remember my father’s stories about life in the teeny-weeny Idaho town where he was born, and later in my own hometown when he lived here as a kid years ago. I know my father’s story of how he and my mother met. I know my father’s history of basketball and track, horses and backpacking, Idaho State University, the Stanley sawmill and Mystic Saddle Ranch. I know that someone wrote on a high school yearbook picture of him playing basketball, “Should be in cross-country!” I don’t know if that was a goofy joke of the era or what, but I wonder if maybe that isn’t what makes him so interested in my own cross-country. I see what my history teacher cannot. I know my father in two ways, with the shell and without. And it’s getting to where I don’t see the difference. Perhaps the shell is not there. Perhaps my history teacher and everyone else are simply blind to its nonexistence. I don’t know how this can be, but I know my father. There is nothing I can say that explains it better than that.





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lol:) said...
Nov. 1, 2010 at 6:19 pm
Nice topic... I think we all use to think our dads were invinicible but at some point we realize they really aren't, but maybe in some ways they are.
 
RiverSong replied...
Feb. 7, 2011 at 3:24 pm

My dad was invincible.

Nice story.  Makes me cry for more reasons than one.

 
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