The sky was at its bluest and the clouds their whitest on that sunny but crisp October afternoon as I sped down the interstate trying, by sheer force of will, to shorten the two-hour trip to the hospital. I had no room for thoughts other than the silent whispered prayers for intercession.
My dad had begun hemorrhaging and the ambulance summoned by my mother had just pulled out of the driveway when she called my office. There were so many things I needed to say and words I needed to hear. This man had been central in my life for 40 years and I found it impossible to believe we didn’t have more time. Death always comes as an ugly surprise, regardless of age or circumstance.
Racing at 85 mph, hoping there were no state troopers lurking behind the berms, my hands shook and my heart beat as though I had run a marathon. Suddenly, a song on the radio answered my questions, filled my need. I could hear my father talking to me, they were his words anyway, of that I was certain and they were telling me exactly what I wanted him to say and what I needed to say to him, “I will Always Love You.” Continue reading
The image is filtered and cropped to reflect the feeling this alley brought to me one cold October Sunday morning as I walking through the little village in Lebanon, TN, enjoying the colors and the company. The concrete walls seemed to emanate the warmth that was missing from the air brought in following the rains of the prior few days.
Tinges of soft moss green touched the brick column that was the corner stone of an old building. Even the cracks in the cement held strings of that same green, a remnant of the summer past.
There was the vague scent of dampness that seemed to come more from age than the weather, that slightly acrid but not unpleasant smell of decay. Continue reading
I was speaking with someone the other night who was relating an experience and in the description, he said that he had been “between wives” which led me to think about all of the permutations of the word “between.”
“Between” bridges two separate places, people, things, emotions, events. It supposes there will be two as in “between wives” but sometimes it is merely a hope or an expectation. We might describe our work life as being between jobs, or our education as between semesters or our dilemma as between a rock and a hard place but it is always the connecting thread that links the past with the future and “in Between” is a place for dreaming, hoping and even decision making. It is where we consider where we went wrong and how we will change ourselves to fit this new place that is at the other end. It is where we decide to cut our hair, shave our beard, change our wardrobe, smile more, or maybe be kinder but knowing that the zebra can’t change his stripes, that last is simply our response to our past self, the very same self who will move through “in between” until the other end is reached.
The only absolute “between” is that journey from birth to death so every day of our lives is in a state of “in between.”
I think we all have moments when we see ourselves in a mirror, when our armor is invisible if only to ourselves. Such was my dinner at Dimitri’s.
The occasion was the gathering of a group of people who had shared time together in a decade long past. Some of them had kept the thread of connection intact through the years and their sense of friendship and community was obvious even to a casual observer. There were stories of shared adventures as well as shared memories and I was the observer to their recollections just as I had been the observer of the events themselves. I had been on the periphery rather than an active participant so the stories were much like an old newsreel, displayed in black and white and as choppy as a windblown surf. I long for the panoramic colors of intimacy that I deny myself. Continue reading
Day 1 – Dad’s Workshop
This is an interesting process to say the least. Decisions at every turn. What might I use in the future and what can be discarded, given, sold, or thrown. If the afternoon progresses as I hope it will, I will be able to start filling the dumpster I have rented for the purpose.
My dad’s workshop is a veritable treasure trove of useful items, redundant useful items, as well as things I’m sure even he forgot he had and even if he had not forgotten, I wonder if he remembered their purpose. Such are the arcane remnants of a lifetime. Continue reading