We have no mountain guide. Dad relies on a paperback trailbook and a topographical map of the Grand Teton, nothing more. Our packs are heavy with ropes and harnesses we’ll use to summit the jagged peak cutting into the sky like a shark’s tooth. The heady smell of pine takes me back to a childhood …
My dad picked me up from my English class yesterday, and we drove towards the mountains. We talked. I told him about my teacher who sounds like Kermit. He told me about the flooding in Omaha. Out the car window, I watched the houses turn to fields and the fields to canyons as we approached …
This post is dedicated, along with lots of love, hugs and prayers, to my friend Sue, who, just weeks after burying her beloved husband, is burying her dear Daddy today.
The edges of my memories of my father are faded now. I can no longer recall the sound of his voice. But I can still remember how he made me feel. In particular, I recall a handful of times he rescued me.
When I started playing basketball in third grade, my father taught me that sports are not always about the “game.” Sports, and life, are about doing your best. As basketball became my sport of choice through middle school and high school, it wasn’t always easy to understand that relationship between life and sports. Sometimes I wanted to quit. I wanted to hang out with my friends, do what I wanted to do, and just enjoy being a teenager, rather than running a couple of miles or lifting weights.
One evening in particular, I remember the cool polished floor of the basketball gym at my stake center. I remember it was cool because I had collapsed and was throwing my arms and legs against it in a two-year-old-like tantrum outburst. “I can’t do it anymore! I want to go home!” I was yelling at my father. I spent many late evenings at the stake center with my father shooting hundreds, if not thousands, of baskets. I did this after I had already had two-hour practices after school. I did it on Friday nights and early Saturday mornings. I did it on Christmas Eve and other holidays as well.
“Finish what you started. You said you were going to make fifteen free-throws in a row.” I can still hear my father’s voice echo in the silence of that gym. I always got up. Not always happily, but somewhere deep inside me, I knew my father believed in me and I did want to finish what I started. He believed that being involved with sports would help me throughout my life.
In honor of Father’s Day, we bring you a post by guest Jennifer Wunderlich. Beyond composing grocery lists and the occasional “Thank You” card, Jennifer is a novice to writing. But oh! How she loves it! Married to her sweet husband of 16 years, together they own a sign and graphics company and try to maintain the peace between their four nutso but lovable, children. When Jen isn’t at home with her family, she’s in the trenches at a local hospital as a full time phlebotomist. Though she loves drawing blood what she really loves are road-trips, singing at the top of her lungs, laughing irreverently and chocolate. Jen recently started her own blog mainly to keep herself sane. Really and truly.
I could see it in their eyes.
These sons, these three grown men, stayed with their father through every hour of the day and night and I could see it in their eyes. I could hear it in their voices–not so much from the words they spoke, but from their hushed tones and wistful timbre. I could feel it in the air, tingling and crackling despite their efforts to create a quiet haven for their sick father. There was no stopping it or stalling it. Time had come and surprised them all, as it seemed to bid their father’s body to age and his mind to slow to a plod. They wore it on their faces; when they glanced at each other you could almost see it travel as a mindless thought from one to another: Where does the time go? When did this happen?
Six years old, I stood behind my mother, staring up at the tall, dark-haired stranger framed by our front door.
“You don’t know who I am,” he began.
“Well of course I do,” Mom replied warmly. “You look just like him. He isn’t here now, but please, come in.”
It was Greg, my father’s grown son. A son I had never known about. A son who had been adopted by another man when he was a small child.
Later, my father explained some of the details to me. His first wife left him, and he allowed their two very young sons to be adopted by her second husband. In those days family judges didn’t grant custody to single fathers, and he thought it was best for them to have an intact family. He didn’t meet and marry my mother until years later. It was years more before they learned my mother couldn’t have children and adopted me.
I enter the hospital in a rush. I have been frantic since the phone call and the drive from Payson was excruciating. It’s only a little over a hundred miles, but today it felt like a thousand. My husband pulls me close to him as we wait for the elevator. My eyes plead with him …