Look at that face, the serious one. I was doing it then and I’m doing it now,
analyzing something. On that day dad caught me in thought; now, I’m thinking about my original, immediate family. We were four, but we’ve been three for some time.
Dad always had the camera, but he didn’t simply take pictures. He was a photographer (and writer and reporter) who enjoyed the entire process. He loved watching, capturing moments for later, for us. He knew the day would come, that we’d ask.
He was right. Dad is gone, but he’s the one I want to see, in that moment. I want to see his eyes. I want to look at his face, see his smile. What remains excludes the one most wanting to capture the moment: the architect.
I want to see the wheels turning. What were his thoughts looking at my sister wearing his shoes and shirt, knowing he’d captured a future laugh? What did he think watching his beaming wife smile over the 2%, while preserving her indelible beauty, his reflected love?
I can’t see him, only what he saw: the shadows, the light, the angle, the decision.
I don’t see poses or arrangements. I see the right here and right now. I see toast and jelly, bathrobes and jammies. I see dolls and toy buses, mussed hair. I see little girls with empty tummies racing to the breakfast table. I see my father’s life.
What exactly is that, a life, and what does it mean? Does an 87-year-old book serve its purpose, begin to capture the beginning of something so grand?
When dad took us with him, he brought along the jellied faces, messy shirts, the uncombed hair. It could have been a mud pie day; that hardly mattered. He’d load us in the car and go. Mom recalls, “He was so proud of you girls,” and (though it made her cringe), “He didn’t care if you had muddy shoes and dirty faces.” We were his world, his family, just us four. What mattered was the here and now, the mud pie moments.
As I climb the hill, the voice is louder. Often it shouts. Questions outnumber answers: what of those who have gone before me? What was their purpose and what is mine? What’s it all about? Will we ever know? Does it matter? To whom do we direct the question?
Ever present is dad’s absence. About his past, there is no one to ask.
When dad passed I couldn’t find him and was most unsettled. I had no sense of where he’d gone; it took months to sort it out, dig for meaning.
It’s ten years now since we lost dad, but I’ve found what he left, what remains.
I discovered the architect’s plan.
❤ RIP dad. Born June 30, 1929, died April 12, 2006. ❤