Tomorrow is Father’s Day. For the last month, advertising has been laced with reminders to remember your father and buy him something nice. I’ve gone on about my daily business without paying it much mind. I’ve noticed, however, that my emotions have been acting strange in the last two weeks or so. It isn’t anything specific, but just an understanding that I’m reacting differently and have a pit of anxiety in me that slightly influences everything else. Sometimes it manifests as a desire to watch a sad movie. Other times I just wander my house aimlessly, wondering why it’s so quiet.
On Thursday, I decided to take the drive up to Pawhuska. I don’t think I’ve visited since last December. I went out to my grandparents’ old house in the country and took a few pictures. Nobody was home, unfortunately, so I couldn’t ask if I could get some close shots, but just the same it unearthed many memories. I recall weekends running around the property, Fourth of July celebrations, and Christmas gatherings. My feet crunching the gravel brought me right back to my youth and I felt 10 years old again. I could hear the echoing sound of my hand hitting the propane tank. I felt the flaking brick that lined the flowerbeds. I could hear the spring in Grandpa’s workshop door handle. The feel of sliding down the storm shelter door. I walked down to the creek where Grandpa and I fished a few times. I was never big into fishing, but I still cherish those memories. I closed my eyes and listened to the sound of the summer countryside. I could’ve just as easily been playing badminton or running around with the dogs.
Before leaving town, I drove up to the cemetery and knelt by Dad’s grave. Looking down at the marker, it was still hard to believe it was all true. Not only that, but it was a year and a half ago. On the way back to Tulsa, I took a few pictures along the road that brought back memories for me and wondered what I’d forgotten. I’m thirty-one years old now and a lot of details have faded from my childhood and beyond. I am thankful that I have the opportunity to capture my world, whether it’s by camera or written word. My brother and I had dinner on Friday and we remembered Tony Martin while we ate and laughed together. I’m very pleased that we get along so well these days. Dad would’ve liked that.
This Father’s Day, I remember my Dad for his strengths, his faults, his life, and his laughter. There isn’t a day that goes by where something reminds me of him. I strive daily to be a good man to those around me and display the same honor and integrity that he taught me. I love my friends and family and try not to take them for granted. I approach each day with an open heart and a hopeful spirit.
Love you, Dad.