my father, my self

My father, in college days

I was visited by the spirit of my father this afternoon as I raked my yard.  Turning the rake over and dragging it along the ground to release the leaves that had been skewered by the tines, I was pulled back in time to the day my dad showed me this little trick of unclogging my rake.

A simple thing, of course, but, at the time, to the child that I was, it was amazing. It was one of those “how cool is that!” moments. I’ve never lost the feeling of childlike wonder and delight at learning what seemed at the time to be a mysterious grownup secret that my dad was letting me in on. I still think it’s a pretty neat trick, and his presence is with me every time I do it.

I have these sorts of moments from time to time. I recall my father showing me how to sweep dust out of a corner; every time I jab a broom into a tight spot—just so—he is there. I remember ballroom dancing with him to Lawrence Welk’s music on television, telling me as he led me around our tiny living room that the proper way to dance was on the balls of my feet—my very first dancing lesson, by the first of what would eventually be many dance teachers.

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