Father’s Day goodbye
The sun is just peeking out of the orange and blue Texas morning sky. My eight years of youth sits in impatient anticipation of your midnight blue Ford pickup truck. It’s going to be a great Sunday at the Rio Bravo motocross track. You divorced mom this year so I am forced to wait to only see you on the weekends. Our time riding to the track will never leave my mind’s eye. The race bike cleaned four times over strapped in the back of the truck with all of my leathers, helmet and gear as well. Racing on the weekends ruled my world. Watching you with your Schlitz beer after many beers watching me have the time of my life is how I like to remember you. What I don’t want to remember is the years of violence. Your many nights of destroying TVs, clocks, lamps and more. Everyone who lived around us and everyone that we knew feared your rants. You were a whisky drinking cowboy with pre-internet values. You were not afraid of a fair bar fight and when things were unbalanced a gun or a knife was always nearby.
I was always like the calming eye in your many storms. When all was not ok and the drinks and whisky violence left others in our midst afraid and uncertain, I was ok. I never told you how that made me feel. I guess it was an honor to be so loved and cherished by you I never thought I needed to tell you how nervous my young life was. I thought I had more time. Time is a liar.
When someone wants to hire me these days it is because of your endless days of putting me on job sites that forced me to carry the heavy loads of getting things done. I started out carrying a center block in each hand as we moved and set up mobile homes. I carried a skill saw in one hand and a motor drill in the other to get the endless jobs into high gear. I made electrical connections and ran PVC plumbing parts to a leak free conclusion. I installed toilets and built counter tops. I did all of this for under the table spending money and for your approval. You did approve; this approval was apparent in the way you bragged about me to anyone who would listen. Thanks dad for all of that pride. You kept my cup full.
You taught me to live big or go home. You displayed a larger than life way to make your way throw the long and winding road of life. To this day I wonder if I execute these lessons of do it yourself. I would like to think I do. People seem to like me like they did you. Family was on edge but your peers all thought you were the best. I guess it was your generous spirit, hardworking ethic and of course your brilliant blue eyes and accommodating spirit. Let’s not paint too much forgetfulness. You made things hard for most of those who loved you and for some who crossed you. You were not without fault and you should be ashamed of bits and pieces of damage you caused. That being said I love you anyway.
Here I am some twenty years after your violent suicide thinking of you on Father’s Day. I miss you so much, so much that no one will ever know. This is my struggle. I struggle daily with your big exit even to this day; I will put that in a time capsule and bury it in exchange for the good memories of playing pool in various ice houses, eating Whoppers at Burger King and so much more. I prefer to remember the hundreds of fishing trips we took. I will think of you and your gentle spirit that let me walk through the woods with you hunting squirrel, deer and duck. I like to remember how you polished your cowboy boots most every morning as we shared coffee and schedule strategy for the coming work day.
When I look in the mirror I see you. I see the real me but I see you. I hope I am half the dad you were as I continue to parent my four amazing children. I hope they grow old and remember my good qualities and ignore the numerous pitfalls. I want to thank you wherever you are these days. If I know you are doing just fine. Probably spending the day with some hot and friendly angel. Forgive me for the times I let you down, forgive me from walking out on the family business to be a stupid artist. It did serve me to leave though. I can write, build and create a so many things! Thank you for your lessons, your leadership and for always loving me. I never got to say it when I wanted to so I will say this with a confident tear falling down my proud face; goodbye dad. It’s Father’s Day so happy Father’s Day! I love you.