Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My Dad And His Things

   My dad died over 15 years ago on November 15, 1996, the year my first child was born. It's not surprising that I miss him more during the holidays but this year, I don't know why, I feel the loss even more deeply than in recent years.
   Last Sunday I was at my sisters house watching football with her boys, wearing my dads well worn USC sweatshirt, as I usually do on game day. This poor sweatshirt is but a rag from it's glory days when my dad wore it on the weekends doing his chores and watching USC win in the Pac10.  Sadly, my pathetic attempts to clean my bad cooking habits from it's cuffs with diluted bleach have had very bad effects. As I was sitting out on the patio visiting with my sister at half time, her husband walked by with a shoulder full of vintage Christmas lights. He beamed and said, "I'm hanging Willard's lights." Chris, God love him, painstakingly fixed all the broken bulbs and proceeded to string my dad's lights for his Grandchildren to enjoy; my dad's great grand kids. I told him that he may have his lights but I was wearing Willard's sweatshirt - to which my sister added, Chris wins. He's wearing Willard's tennis shoes. We don't want to let go.
   Yesterday I got a Christmas box from my sister in law, Micky that included my dad's old USC Alumni license plate holders that she had held onto all these years. In my barn sits my dad's pride and joy, a classic Century ski boat that could tell some tales. My nephew has my dad's old Chevy pick up truck that my mom was embarrassed to be seen in. Clearly, we don't want to let go.
   I know it's not the material things that keeps us close to my dad but every time I put on that ratty old sweatshirt I feel better. It's a little like a hug from from Heaven.
   Merry Christmas, Willard. We love you.