There is a girl in the capitol of this Lonestar state hoping to get a tour of a campus so she can compare it to another one she visited earlier today.
The campus wasn’t far from my old neighborhood and I came damn close to driving by Coventry to visit my old Costco to fill my tank.
Listened to one of the other fathers talk about a pair of shapely legs and shook my head because I knew that when she turned the woman we saw would have a girl’s face.
I didn’t know the other guy and didn’t say anything to him or his son but wondered if he has a daughter because he probably wouldn’t appreciate some old guy leering at her.
The other guy made eye contact with me and I gave him a blank expression. It didn’t validate his comments and didn’t give him an excuse to start up with me.
Got me thinking about my own college years and how I remember the guy but I am not him anymore. I can see him in my mind “there goes someone you used to know.”
I suspect there are a bunch of people who would say the same thing about themselves and probably about me. “There goes someone I used to know.”
I never met my Great-Grandfather Julius but I have heard stories. He is one of the people I am named for and sometimes I wonder if we had met what he would have said.
Would he had told me stories about the old country or pointed out things that he thought we shared in common? Would he have given me advice on how to live and what to do?
Can’t tell you one way or another anymore than I can tell you if I would have listened. Been told more than once that I am good at ignoring the advice I am given.
What can I say, if you tell me the pot is hot and I haven’t tested it myself I just might. If you tell me that one last word might cause a reaction I might ask what word that is.
Like think I have matured as I have gotten older but as introspective as I can be I am not sure that I have worried much about that.
Maybe I am and maybe I am not. Maybe I am just a guy listening to Aretha’s cover of Bridge Over Troubled Water.
Or maybe I am just a father trying to figure out what advice he can or should give to his daughter who in some ways is so very like him.
Though I ought to add she is a far better student and sharper than myself and I am no slouch but happy to see my kids surpass me.
I Saw Them
Walking across campus back towards my car I saw a girl take a boy’s hand and wondered what their story was. He was oblivious to all that was going on around them and looked lost in her eyes.
She smiled at him and everyone around them.
They were about fifty feet or so in front of me and made for a good distraction from the wind blowing pollen in my face and the ache I was beginning to feel from having stood on concrete for hours.
“You’re getting to be an old man” whispered some voice inside of me.
“Better push yourself to do these 13,000 steps or you really will become middle aged” it added.
The young couple stopped in the middle of the sidewalk, wrapped in each other’s arms and I cleared my throat to let them know to move.
She turned her head over her left shoulder, still smiling and just stared at me.
“Old grumpy men don’t come with brakes” I said as I passed by.
It was kind of a silly remark but I was in need of a cup of coffee and time to process the realization that in a very short time that daughter I mentioned above would be on her own.
It won’t be the first time I lived apart from her but those moments were different. Different because I knew soon we would be together again and for an extended period.
Now I get to say that if all works as it should it is in part because I did my job as a father. I got her ready to step out into the world and live.
That is a good thing and I have a long list of things I am grateful for. Given how far that hole was and how hard I fought to climb out there is much to celebrate.
I am proud of what I accomplished because not everyone could do it and I am not done yet.
Driving through the old part of town thinking about that time of life and who I was wondering if that is someone some people want to know and if I would want to know them.
Thinking about how the second half is almost here and all this talk about what it might be like is going to move from might to what it is like.
Is that how I want it or do I need to focus on could be and push for that. Questions about questions and answers that are as simple or complex as we make them to be.