So much for welcoming 2010 with open arms! It is freezing here- has been for the past 12 days, and my dad passed away unexpectedly on the night of New Years Day. I have been hiding behind my kids since then, as it is simpler to use them as buttresses around you to hold up the fort, by now I am alone, my solid supports gone, leaving me to face my own thoughts and memories for the next few hours.
My dad was a good guy, full of dreams and hopes, much like his own mother’s. He liked trains and trolleys (made us ride on many in our youth), South Florida- West Palm Beach and Jupiter, where he had lived once in his youth- that time between leaving your home and before you find a family of your own. Even though some find it cruel, it is a necessary rite of passage, scary and liberating- the sink or swim zone. He said he always had good memories of that time.
My dad had many dreams that I am sorry to say went unfulfilled- like operating a trolley car in his younger years, and riding the St Charles Street car in New Orleans later on, but he did not stop dreaming. When I was young, I used to watch old British comedies on PBS with him- Good Neighbours (which has affected my lifestyle choices and habits most of my life), To Manor Born, Benny Hill and Monty Python (the latter two were not appreciated by my mom though).
He used to take us kids on walks through the back woods, before there were houses, when the only worries we had were snakes, wild hogs and who would get the juiciest blackberries. He was always working on cars- oil changes, heater hoses and other mysteries, and anytime I drove up (after my son was born), he’d pop the hood of the car and have a look at the oil, water, tire pressures. It was my sister, Sue’s car, and he had promised her he would take care of it for her-and did- no matter who was driving.
My son shared a passion of trains with my dad, and when ever we would visit, he’d have grandpa run the trains for him- they’d even watch train videos together for hours on end. It’s a family obsession that passed down from his own grandfather.
He is among good people: Sue, Diane, Curtis, and many more, but we sure do miss him here.