My dad went home Monday!! He was strong enough to leave A.G. Rhodes, the beyond-wonderful place where he received such great care and therapy. My parents have wonderful caregivers helping him, and he is HOME!
To celebrate, I decided to write a blog post about just a few of my dad’s favorite things. There are so many. . . I chose a few that came to mind easily, including one or two that, honestly, I was conveniently able to take pictures of! 🙂
My dad always told us his favorite time of day was sunset. To me, this time of day is just the tiniest bit tinged with sadness in spite of its great beauty. Or perhaps that is part of its great beauty? He liked that it is peaceful, and quiet. No small wonder, with a stressful job that he nonetheless loved, and our house full of kids.
One of the things he especially enjoyed about this time of day was the song of the wood thrush. When we were children, he would call us to come listen to it. Now . . . I am going to attempt to “embed” a Youtube video in this post. My wonderful,l technologically gifted friend, Mary, is on vacation, alas!
He often also called us – us being my mom and all five of us “kids” LOL – to listen to his favorite songs. He bought little 45s, or sometimes albums, and we learned to love his favorites. I especially remember Glen Campbell’s version of John Hartford’s “Gentle on my Mind.” (I must confess; I had a huge crush on Glen Campbell!) 🙂 Another attempt at embedding video, here goes!
Then there were his “Saturday clothes,” (pronounced “Sa-er-dy clothes). He would put on some of the most mismatched, old, comfortable clothes and go outside to work, pick berries or plums, or artifact. I really like the concept of Saturday clothes. I have always had my own version, which I have to this day! (This old blue flannel shirt is perfect to wear while cooking, or for reading in while it is raining outside.)
For years and years, picking blackberries was a favorite thing, which we shared with him, including the wild, sweet taste, the sense of accomplishment, and the nights lying awake, miserable with insect bites! My wonderful mother would make blackberry cobbler or jelly. I can still see the cheesecloth hung with dripping berries, while juice stained the cloth an impossibly beautiful dark, bright purple.
The last memory I will share illustrates one of MY favorite things ABOUT my dad, the happy fact that he shared his loves and joys with us. To this day everyone in our family, including our own children, loves so much of what he loves.
This last memory is really a little story. When I was turning fourteen, I had a spend-the-night party. Of course, we stayed up late, talking, laughing, and who knows, maybe levitating someone. My mom finally fell asleep, but my dad went upstairs to read.
When it had gotten really late, he called me to come upstairs. I thought, “Uh oh, he’s going to say he seriously means for us to pipe down!” Instead, he said, “Dixie, listen to this.” It was an Eastern screech owl, its call eerie, haunting, and beautiful in the north Georgia summer woods.
This post may be a bit light in tone. . . at a time when emotions run deep enough to undo us at any moment. My dad is more frail these days. But he is still with us, still himself. We spend a lot of time, all of us, talking about favorite things and memories. Such joy.