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to thank him

5599482684 f41682cff8 z to thank him

I spent the weekend  in my father’s house. My father died in September and this is the second time I have been back to his house. The first time was a test of will and I do not remember much, except cleaning out the refrigerator. This time was a quiet time and a thoughtful time. I sat on the couch where I always had, facing where he always sat in his chair and thought of all the times and hours we  spent like that, him telling  stories and reading poetry to me and me just taking in the sound of his voice and laughing at his stories and asking the same questions over and over. This time I sat and looked at where he should have been and maybe still is really, as the house is so full of his presence and I thought about  his life and how even a couple months before we knew how sick he was, we were arguing about him dying. He always said he was going to die, he was convinced of it several times but he had always proved himself wrong and this last time we argued about it he was even more sure ,although he was not sick – he  just  thought himself old ( and he was 92 ) but then he  made it through his birthday and he kept driving and feeding his geese and riding his fourwheeler and singing as loud as he could through it all – always singing his songs. He died to prove that he was right I thought , he was so stubborn . My father and I are so much alike in that way and in sheer will of spirit. Sitting in my father’s house I thought, his clocks were always wrong and they still are, you never really knew what time it was when you were at his house but after all ,was it really what you needed to know? Or wasn’t  really what you needed to know either that it was too late or that you had wasted precious time that could not be recaptured. So I swept the floors and took out the trash and emptied a little bit of him out of the house and I fed the geese and they looked at me with a slight twist of their head and their where-is-the-old-guy-who-feeds-us-bread-and-sings-to-us  eyes. I read  in his books the places he had marked  and drank his Irish whiskey and decided to forgive him for what he did not teach me and for what he did not give me and to thank him for teaching me instead what he thought I needed to know and to understand that he did the best he could . When our parents die it feels as if we are going to float away , as if our roots are gone, we lose our grounding but the time that we spend adrift is time also lost. I keep thinking about my father’s clocks and how he wound them up with those little keys and they made that windingup noise and then he carefully carefully closed them up but they were still always wrong and that makes me think of when I was four and I sang “My Grandfather’s Clock” in a talent competition and then was on a local television broadcast and my father teased me saying that he almost took a hatchet to the television to get me out and I thought he actually believed that but I was too kind to say anything and how when my father died my brother stopped the clock pendulum and that reminds me of the song which if you know it ,was a very strange song about an old man’s death, a very strange song for a four year old girl with her shirleytemple curls to sing ,but I had no idea what the song was about then and no one else cared, in relation to the cuteness factor, the meaning dimmed. So now the  geese remain puzzled , clocks are still wrong and the time is all wound down anyway, but even so – will not stand still ….

6 Comments (Add Yours)

  1. tHIS STORY TOOK ME OUT OF MYSELF FOR A LITTLE WHILE AND THE WHOLE " TIME" I COULD SEE AND HEAR THE CLOCKS TICK TOCKING THE WRONG TIME.TELL ME MORE MARTHA AND YOU COULD CAPTURE MY SOUL

  2. Beautifully written. You write pictures.

  3. I read this for myself & am even more impressed by it than when you read it to me. It is beautiful—both the sentiment expressed & artistry with which you expressed it. Somewhere Sull is smiling.

  4. Marvelous – evoked waves of emotion. When I first read I was crying and smiling at the same time. You captured so much!

  5. I feel like I can hear your father's heartbeat in these words. This story is drenched in the beauty of remembrance.

    "where-is-the-old-guy-who-feeds-us-bread-and-sings-to-us-eyes" ~ I'll always remember this. xoxo

  6. "His life seconds numbering, tick tock tick tock." I love that song.

    Beautifully written.

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