Thanksgiving came and went without too much fanfare.  At least, that’s how it was on the surface.  I went to Mom’s on the day of for dinner.  Last year, I took care of Thanksgiving dinner at my tiny efficiency apartment and had Mom and Tyler over.  Dad never was big on holidays.  Since Mom’s oven has since been replaced, she was tremendously excited to be able to cook this year.

ThankTyler had to work, and due to some scheduling communication failures, Mom and I ended up eating our meal with just the two of us.  It was peaceful, quiet.  Perhaps a little too quiet.  Make no mistake, the food was great and I love spending time with my mother.  With both Tyler and Dad not being present, it was just a little too hard to ignore that it was different this year.  After we ate, I got to see Tyler’s new house.  Tyler and his fiance rented a place in Broken Arrow.  It’s his first house.  He was so proud when he was showing me around the place.  I remember the feeling; I bought a house back in 2003 and couldn’t be prouder as I sat in my own living room.  I was less proud when it was time to mow the lawn, but I digress.  It’s nice to see my brother growing up.  I try to fight the feeling that a complete implosion is around the corner.

Then I was home.  It was odd; I realized that all day I was fighting to get back home, and now that I was back home I had nothing there.  It was quiet, dark.  The night did not go as well as the day.  It’d been a long time since I had broken down with feelings of utter loss.  Thanksgiving memories are filled with food, good spirits, and Dad feeding Lucy bits of turkey as he carved it.  Hard to believe they are both gone now.

I wanted to call Dad and ask him questions.  For some reason, I was stuck on wanting to ask him what he was doing at my age and what his priorities were.  I don’t feel aimless, I just want to know.  I was fine once I got on the other side of it.  I was talking about these feelings to a good friend of mine and she said, “Were you alive when your Dad was 30?”  I was 3.  “Then you know what his priority was.”  That was impactful and it was all I could do to keep from totally losing my composure.

Since then, I’ve been thinking about Dad pretty constantly.  In this day and age, it’s easy to backtrack a year and see what was important to me.  Facebook posts, blog entries, bank activity.  It’s strange to look back and recall how different things were, even though they were almost the same.  As Christmas draws closer, I focus on my friends and my family.  Work is going well.  I listen to upbeat music. Should I slip into sorrow, I let myself settle there for a little bit…and then get back up.  I have too much good going on to focus on the bad.

To quote Andy Dufresne, Hope is a good thing.  Perhaps the best of things.  And no good thing ever dies.

About rhysfunk

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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