Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Old Folks at Home

Dear John,
 
You might want to run and get Daddy, and read this letter with him.
 
I did mow this morning - not the grass, but the buckhorn. The grass, being sensible, is brown and dormant. Buckhorn will survive like the cockroaches. I started before 10:00 so it wasn't too bad. I left weeding for a cooler day.
 
I was thinking about Daddy while I mowed. When we were children, the role of a father in the life of his kids was primarily that of provider and back-up disciplinarian. My father was an exception. He always took me somewhere on Saturday mornings. Mama got a break and we got time together. We went to the Atlanta airport, the zoo, or Stone Mountain, and usually had lunch at the Varsity. Sometimes he had to stop by job sites on the way - I remember walking around construction sites with a hard hat on when I was so small I could only see my feet and had to hold onto his hand to be able to walk. Wonderful memories!
 
We did other things together as a family. We fished when we could and did yard work together. I remember Daddy mowing, Mama trimming, and me sweeping the driveway and sidewalk. Since I grew up in SEC country, we watched football together. I was always outside with him when we grilled. Every day he came home from work, got a piece of cheese, and sat down with me in his lap. He shared his cheese with me until I got big enough to have my own piece. I remember one night when he brought blueprints home and I was fascinated by them. He explained that it was a bird's-eye view and told me what the symbols meant. I remember the moment it clicked in my head and I understood. I could still draw that particular factory floor from memory.
 
So, tonight, please give Daddy my love. Tell him how grateful I am for all the time he spent with me when I was little, for teaching me how to bait a hook and gut a fish, ride a bike, and read a blueprint. And tell him that, in his honor, I had a tomato sandwich for lunch today. Be sure to thank him yourself, too.  After all, you love me and I'm so much like him - I am largely his fault. And Mama always said that he could never deny paternity since I look exactly like him. Give him a big hug from me, and tell him how much I look forward to seeing him again.
 
Love to all the old folks at home. There's where my heart is turning ever!
Joan.

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