Commemoration

“it’s never too late to have a happy childhood.”
—Tom Robbins

Dad in some beautiful mountains of his own.

Every year since, I’ve taken time on September 7th to myself. Often, I’d request the day off work to visit a cemetery, read old letters, or spend time outside remembering the limited and wonderful joy that life is. It’s been an important ritual. I remember calling my grandparents every year to remember my father; their child. While they returned any other call, I could never reach them on that day, nor did they return those calls.

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My Grandpa and Dad enjoying some nature.

Last Friday, was my father’s father’s birthday. I celebrated in the way that I like to. I wore two of his shirts that I’d pulled from his closet after he’d died. I took a walk in a park with a friend remembering those who’s time has gone by. I explained that the hat I was wearing was from the golf course that he and my grandmother build in their back yard. Such a funny dream that was, and they brought that dream right into the world. I admire that.

After my grandmother passed away, I tried to extend my ritual by making a point to call him or stop down to his house on the anniversary to say hello and that I was remembering the day. What surprised me was his response: “There’s nothing special about today.”

My grandfather was an interesting man for a barnful of reasons, but an image of him that sticks with me is from the day we buried my grandmother. After a moving funeral and the graveside prayers, he stayed as the funeral home staff removed the tent, hardware, and astroturf. When the venire was gone, He fully took in the enormous truth of a hole in the ground with a casket cradling his wife’s body at the bottom of it. He took a handful of Deerfield earth and crumbled it lovingly into the void.

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Continuing a family tradition of finding my own mountains.

In a few hours it will be June 19th. Sixty Six years ago my grandparents welcomed my father into the world. I think I’d like to give both of these men birthday presents.

September 7th, Grandpa? There’s nothing special about that day. But June 19th, that’s my Dad’s birthday. I think I’ll celebrate.

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