The day after we placed a series of Jerusalem stones and rocks around my father’s grave I wandered around Santa Monica thinking about odds and ends including stories my father told about going to the beach when he was a kid.
Stared at the mighty Pacific and thought about the places we connected and didn’t.
I swam competitively and he helped administer tests to the life guards and sheriffs of LA County.
We were both born in Los Angeles and spent significant parts of our schooling there and we both left for chunks of time.
I can’t say if I’ll do things as he did and return there for any length of time for lots of reasons not the least of which is the world that was no longer is.
The upside to having a more definitive sense of how much time your candle has is you can take advantage of it and have the hard conversations.
We did…more than once.
He demanded quite a bit but he gave more than he should too.
I can picture the look on his face as I told him about one particular situation.Told him I did all I could to make things work and then shrugged my shoulders.
He smiled and told me he understood and that I would figure it out, “might not be over, might be. You can’t tread water–go and see where it leads.”
On the drive home I discovered a broken headlight in the van and began making plan to get it fixed.
The damn thing has to have a lube and oil before it is driven back to Texas anyway, but part of me says don’t take it in because you can do both.
I can do both, but I haven’t ever replaced the headlight on an Odyssey or changed the oil. Not equipped to do the latter but in theory could absolutely do the former.
Except when you know you have to catch a flight mid day and aren’t sure if you are going to run into any snags with changing the headlight you think about it.
Because there isn’t time to screw around if anything doesn’t go to plan.
Even though it shouldn’t be more than pulling apart a pigtail and doing a little in-and-out action with a halogen bulb experience has taught me sometimes it is worth paying the expert.
I didn’t have to close my eyes to hear dad tell me to remember that knowing and doing are two different things.
We did enough together to make that clear to me. Plumbing and electrical repairs and assorted odds and ends.
The biggest difference between then and now is how many YouTube videos you can watch so that you don’t have to rely upon bad sketches.
Years ago I would have said screw it and tried to get it done, but I am not who I once was. If I didn’t know that instinctively the words of others might have made it sink in.
Shmata Queens and their mothers might not see some of that or maybe one of them sees all of that.
Hell if I know for certain but I could ask. Could reach out and take what is mine and find out if what was always true no longer is or might be.
I wrote a post with the WP mobile app while sitting at the terminal in LA but it wouldn’t upload there or here, not entirely sure why.
Sat there listening to Simon & Garfunkel sing Homeward Bound and wondered where the hell that is now.
Maybe it is because I can wander through LA and feel like I am home but know I am not really, not now.
Dallas feels like home in many ways but not quite in others.
It felt good to get into my car and know I knew exactly where I was going and had a few ideas about what restaurants might be open.
But I am so very tired and so worn I wonder if it make sense to ask or think about some of these things.
Truth is home is more of a feeling than a place.
Got to take a little more time to build more memories in LA without dad not because I am pushing him away but because I need to think of it differently again.
Need a little more time to let the memories of him being sick and weak get pushed to their rightful place behind the guy I remember best.
The Virgo who made 10,000 lists and labels. The guy who told bad jokes, yelled at me for not taking the time to do things right and told me if I ever had another fist fight with one of my sisters around I was to knock the other guy into next week.
“You don’t ever get into that situation where your sister can get hurt without taking care of that.”
Sigh. You who don’t know him won’t ever get the full picture I want you to see. You’ll get fragments and that is too bad, he wasn’t perfect but he wasn’t bad.
He was my father.