Another One for Dad
The other day I asked my sister Cheryll to take some photos of me for an online biography I’m planning. She said yes, and got her digital SLS and lenses out. We ate an early dinner and headed out for Harbor Island Park in our home town, Mamaroneck. The cherry blossoms were in bloom, hence the reason why I wanted a photo op there. Having grown up in Mamaroneck, I always loved being able to walk beside the harbor while enjoying the park’s trees and solitude. We took some shots under the cherry blossoms, then on a park bench with the west basin as a background. Then, on a whim, Cheryll said she wanted to go to the east basin, that the light might be different there. So we got back in the car, drove around to the main parking lot and found a bench facing the narrow channel which debouched onto the east basin. As she talked, I was launched back to the times I jigged for snappers, the immature bluefish that were so challenging to catch. They were a fierce silver fish, quick and full of sharp teeth. Those teeth chomped on my fingers more than a few times. I spent hours in the channel perched on rocks or barefoot in the mud, my sneakers tied to my waist to keep them clean and dry.
As I sat with Verona by my side, Cheryll kept taking shots of me. The memories washed over me and I sat with them.
I thought of Daddy, of all the years we had together on the boat and all of the moments and memories that are the gifts of the past.
“If Daddy’s spirit is anywhere, it’s here.”
I think that’s the shot that she liked the most, the one that captured the reflection of the acceptance in my face. At that moment I felt the connection, hopefulness that somehow he felt me, too.
Am I at peace with Daddy’s death? I don’t know if being at peace is the right terminology. I miss him– I had many things I wanted to say but never got the chance to say them. What I am satisfied with is that I have wonderful memories. Dad’s love of solitude transferred to me. I first learned it by going fishing alone. I pride myself for being able to be with myself, to not feel lonely, to value self-reflection. Not sure if Daddy ever meant to impart this upon me but it happened while jigging for snapper and hiking in the woods, or walking or biking. Eventually I became very good at being able to sit down and write, to delve into my thoughts and express them and then actually create something to share with others.
Many times he said that he loved to read and that he admired anyone who could write. Maybe that’s why the writing life attracted me, why I gravitated to it and why, years later, I’m sharing these words.