Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Delta Dawn and Daddy

It's my earliest memory and I remember it like it was yesterday. I was standing in the “sitting” room near our white crushed velvet couch - the one with matching crushed velvet pillows - in gold (really). The sitting room was my favorite room in our home because it was filled with beautiful things – the crushed velvet couch, Mom’s piano upon which sat a green glass candy dish – the top cut at interesting angles, and a long, low, glass-topped table covered with potted ivy and many pots of African Violets. I remember well how Momma loved those violets, and how she was mildly disgusted at her inability to keep them alive. Everyone was being still and quiet, all eyes were on me, and I was singing Delta Dawn with cues from my sweet Daddy while Mom recorded us on a large reel-to-reel audio recorder. My older sisters, Emmy and Lydia, were in the room. I’m almost positive one of those pretty girls had on plaid pants and I’m sure each member of the family had on at least one item made from 100% polyester. Yes, we embraced the 1970's with the same enthusiasm that we embraced each other, my family and I.

Thank you, Lord, for this memory. So crisp. So clear. Filled with the people I first loved and who first loved me. The depth of gratitude I feel to God for this seared in my brain and on my heart memory moves me to tears and even bended knee – thankful, so incredibly thankful.

We didn't, but families often fight after the death of a parent.

They fight over…



…family photos.



Which of these brings back the deceased parent? Not one. There is not one thing that will ever bring them back. Oh, I understand the comfort of having a memento. I got a shirt of Daddy’s. I got a special coffee mug of his, some coins collected overseas during his military career, several photos and such. Nothing of monetary value. Nothing even of particular sentimental value. (Daddy’s memory is so much more valuable than simple sentimentality.) I enjoy the things I have, sure. I’d trade them in an instant for just one more day with Dad. One more hour. One more minute.

That however, is not possible. I learned so much through the death of my Father, and I am thankful to God for the lesson: Hang on to what’s important – the moments with your loved ones while they’re alive – the loving of them, laughing with them, crying with them, moving through this life with them while they are here. Don’t stress over their money, property, the things. Just love them and cherish them and find ways to create memories with them. What brings me more peace than any of his things ever could, are my many memories of a good Dad who we knew – and took for granted even – loved us. Daddy was a wonderful man. I miss him always, but especially so on today – what would have been his 72nd birthday.

Happy Birthday Daddy! I miss you so! Mom’s doing well, but she eats more sugar than she should – can you mention this to the Big Guy for me please? Emmy, Lydia and I are all doing just fine – happy even! Your granddaughters – aw, Daddy, you’d be so proud of them! And you’ve got the most beautiful great-grandchildren – you just wouldn’t believe! There’s even a boy Daddy! A BOY. I hope he grows up to be a lot like you. I’m remembering you Dad, everyday and especially today. And listen, I’m playing our song – this one’s for you…

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