I was searching my Gmail account this morning for some information I’d sent awhile back and found an old chat log between Dad and me back when I was in Indonesia. It brought a smile to my face and I suddenly thought, “Hey, wait. If this was saved, are there others?” A quick search later and I was face to face with about a dozen conversations with my father, frozen in time and waiting for me to find them.
I can hear his voice when I read the words. We talked about food and Dad’s experiences in France and Portugal. We talked about his job and how he was scraping by trying to divert product. We talked about Grandma and how she was doing with her cancer treatments. We talked about Lucy (our family dog) being put down. He gave me advice on taking care of my house and the renters that had left it in poor shape. He was genuinely happy to chat, even though I know he would’ve greatly preferred a phone call.
Dad was never a skilled typist; some of his messages suddenly become ALL CAPS and later return to normal without explanation. He wasn’t the greatest speller in the world. He tried to explain to me what Pineapple Upside Down Pie was (“it’s like cake, but it’s pie”) Some excerpts:
7:29 AM me: It’s 9:30 PM
7:30 AM Dad: Wow, it’s 7:30, Ijust milked the chickens.
7:31 AM Dad: I HAVEN’T HAD MY COFFEE
11:39 AM Dad: I have already packed and am ready to go
Gail says Hi.
me: Tell her hi back! How is she doing?
Dad: She loved your card
8:46 PM me: just getting up for breakfast. It’s cooler here than it is there – I hear ya’ll are having quite the heat wave.
8:47 PM Dad: Yep, 100 today
me: That’s rough.
8:48 PM Dad: no, 140 is rough
me: Well, that’s true.
Any diverting luck?
8:49 PM Dad: IT’S 140 IN IRAQ
9:11 PM Dad: SHE IS TAKING PILLS, PILLS . she can’teat garlic or get out in the sun
9:12 PM Was that too tough for you to understand
9:13 PM She doesn’t eat steak, steaks scare her
9:14 PM me: …
Dad: She has to quit smoking, because of her cofin
me: Well, that would be a blessing.
9:15 PM Dad: Dont say Blessing or holy water
me: because of the garlic, right?
Dad: THAT’S THE TICKET
me: I’m caught up now
Some of it makes me laugh. Some of it makes me tear up. All of it reminds me that I miss him. But it is getting easier. Finds like this helps. I also got the call that Dad’s grave marker was finished and placed. Since his last ‘story’ that I heard every time we talked was about someone at Reasor’s asking him if he was THE Tony Martin, Tyler and I found it only fitting to mark his final resting place.
Dad closed all of his IM conversations with ‘Love ya, Nuff Said’. It was nice to hear your voice again, Dad. I love you.
Rhys Martin was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1981. In 2009, he sold everything he owned and left the country, living out of a backpack for ten months. He discovered a passion for photography while traveling throughout Southeast Asia and Europe.
After returning home, he looked at his home town and Oklahoma heritage with fresh eyes. When he began to explore his home state, Rhys turned his attention to historic Route 66. As he became familiar with the iconic highway, he began to truly appreciate Oklahoma’s place along the Mother Road. He has traveled all 2,400 miles of Route 66, from Chicago to Los Angeles. He has also driven many miles on rural Oklahoma highways to explore the fading Main Streets of our small towns. Rhys has a desire to find and share the unique qualities of the Sooner State with the rest of the world.
Cloudless Lens Photography has been featured in several publications including This Land, Route 66 Magazine, Nimrod Journal, Inbound Asia Magazine, The Oklahoman, and the Tulsa World. In 2018 he published his first book, Lost Restaurants of Tulsa.
Rhys loves to connect with people and share his experiences; ask him about enjoyable day trips from Tulsa, locations along Route 66, and good diners or burger joints along the way.
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