Sunday, August 23, 2015
happy birthday, daddy, sleep well
I love my daddy.
He would be eighty years old today.
Daddy had a favorite joke he told us when we were little about an Indian, a doctor, and a tepee. This joke has one not so nice word in it and when I was in the third grade I told it to my teacher and class.
If I try hard I can still hear Daddy's laughter loud and strong when I did that.
Daddy had been sick a couple years before he died and didn't have the energy he did before illness attacked his body. But his spirit was the same for a long time. I remember a day on my front porch when he did that little wave of the hand and roll of the eye and sound from the throat he did when he spoke of someone and how they ain't got no sense.
When I looked at my daddy I didn't always see age. I saw the little boy who was scared of school and beat his mama back home every morning after she dropped him off because he took the shortcut.
The man who could never bear to spank us, so he didn't. Ever.
I didn't see a man who walked barefoot in the snow to school everyday. Really, Daddy? Here. In Mississippi?
Or a man who lived in a house so bad you could see the chickens pecking underneath through the cracks in the floor Maybe? But.... I don't know, Daddy.
Trust is a little shaky after the snow story.
Who became caught in the middle of my teenage rebellion with my mama.
And who stayed up all night with me after a hard day of work because my eyes were as big as quarters.
I saw a man who allowed my mama to stay home and raise us. I'm sure sometimes he thought she raised us alone, but the power to keep us in her loving presence came from him.
His words were few. Sentiment crept in as he grew older and he felt the need to love us more. But that wasn't possible, we never felt unloved.
Happy Birthday. Sleep well, Daddy, in the pure peace and presence of God. I'll see you soon.