It is March, your birthday month. I think of you everyday, and most especially now. We all still shed tears when remembering the times that you were here, with us. Mama tends your grave, with loving care. Delores makes quilts out of the shirts you left. Connie takes tools to Mamas’ house, for she is the most qualified, for that place. Know that she keeps the house in good order. I tell our stories and plant flowers.
If I ever find the place to plant trees, I will, for I remember how you loved trees. Oh! peach trees are starting to bloom-and as always, we are expecting bitter cold weather today. Like clockwork, the wind roars these days. I remember the kites you made. They could soar . Over the fields they went til they were just tiny as sparrow,. to the eyes. I suspect, that few fathers come home from work and fly kites with their children, til supper.
You would have loved what I saw a few weeks ago. There were four bluebirds at a bird feeder at your former home. They were in quite a ruckus. How darling they looked with their bright blue feathers filling the space like confetti. I am glad that you taught me to love birds. I will never hear a bobwhite, that I do not remember us sitting outside on warm evenings , having conversations with a bobwhite. . . and then looking for the first star. How peacefully, I grew up. I still look for the first star.
Some days, I listen to the same music you loved, when you were here. Many days, I just can’t. Sometimes, it is just too hard . . . to remember.
Even remembering the seasons when we were at odds, pains me. You were such a strict parent, and it aggravated me, during my teenage years. I didn’t dare argue with you, for somehow, you had convinced me that you knew more than I did. Some way, you made me think, that it was an awful sin, to be disrespectful. Somehow, you made me be (mostly) obedient. It seemed to me, that no matter how much I sulked and distanced myself . . you were always there. Today, I know it was your love that was always abiding, whether I liked it or not.
Since, you left, much has happened. . .and in such a short while, really. “Our way” of life is disappearing with every minute that passes. I suppose each generation regrets losing something beautiful. The things, that one generation calls valuable-even precious-may not be deemed so, by the next. I am thankful, that the gifts you bestowed on your children, were not the “temporary sort” . . . and so they remain. Having good parents is a gift in itself.
Neither you nor Mama were ever afraid to enforce rules, or responsibility. In fact you seemed to be on a mission. You already loved us, but it was important to you to make us all lovable to others. I often say that I knew everything, before, I went to school, about how to behave properly.
No matter how gallant your efforts were, not every lesson “took’ with me. When I fumbled and stumbled, you always said the same thing . .”You knew better!” Oh, how I hated that. But, you were right. I did know better, for you had drilled “better” in my heart and soul with diligence. I still tell myself that now, when I am tempted to act otherwise.
There is another thing, to mention, which I am grateful for. . .the way you loved Mama. I could write a book, on your fatherhood, but you were also a good husband-and I do not take that lightly. You and Mama were a steadfast union-and that made a difference then-and now. You both worked hard, you at a job, and Mama at home. How valuable that proved to be. We really had the best of everything, as children.
It is no wonder, that you are missed by all of us. Thank Goodness, that you did not leave us “empty handed”. . .but instead, laden with self esteem, accountability, perseverance, sensibility and gratitude. Because of you, I have seen nobility . . . so I know what it looks like. As it turns out, . . I really do “know better.”