Dad, do you remember …

Basswood, 1978

Do you remember the day you came home from work with a pair of slippers for me? I was probably six or seven at the time, and they were canary yellow with red and white stripes around the trim and a rubber Ronald McDonald head on the toe. It wasn’t even my birthday.  

Do you recall summer days at the lake, when you used to swim out into the deep water with me holding onto your shoulders, propped on your back? 

Do you have the same memories as me of meeting along the park path on your way home from work so I could be the first to greet you at the end of your day and walk you back to our house? 

Do you recollect the time I fell into a small pool of fresh water near Hog’s Back and you swept me up to save me from the fish? Do you ever think about the time we ate lunch and drank chocolate milk in the basement of our new house on Basswood? 

Do you remember when we witnessed that star shoot through the night sky from the backyard in New Mexico? Do you ever think about the time you went back into that tourist shop in Santa Fe to buy me a dream catcher, to surprise me with it? Do you ever think about the encouraging words, the outbursts of pride, the unlimited I love you’s

I do. I think about all of these things. I do my best to remember as many as I can when I think about who you are to me. My picture of you is mosaicked. I’ve fashioned a tapestry woven with threads of remembrance. 

I never see you without seeing all the ways you showed me your love over the years. I probably bask in those thoughts whenever I think of you because I’ve inherited your nostalgic bone, along with your jaw line and teeth and nose and ears, and all the expressive modes that make us a rainbow of colors to those who love us.

But also because the peace all my memories of you generate helps me remember I am lucky to be here, that I’m the fortunate offshoot of a whole nother person’s journey. And I’m the daughter of a man who knows sacrifice, a man who eagerly gave his children the good life and every opportunity within his sphere to help us fly.  

So let me say, thank you, and that I love you. And that I won’t ever forget. 

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