Leader of the Band
and we become, at last, our fathers. And do not know ourselves and therefore no longer know each other.
B.H. Fairchild, Early Occult Memory Systems of the Lower Midwest
This picture was taken just moments before we left the place my parents have called home for over twenty years now. There were hugs and kisses all around with plenty of I wish ya'll could stay longer. After my girlfriend snapped this picture, I embraced my dad and held the man from whence I came for a long time. And he held me. As my face was buried in his silvering hair, I whispered I love you. And he said I love you too. It was about all I could do to let go. But I did.
He's probably walking down the driveway about now to pick up the Gazette that's thrown each morning. He'll come back inside and sit at a round kitchen table and drink coffee and read and eat something with a little peanut butter on it. When he's finished, he might check and see if his son's written anything new on that blog of his. A little later, he'll don his supersuit: pressed shirt, black slacks, possibly a tie, black cowboy boots. He'll go over the agenda for the day with her and kiss her before he leaves. A double-check to make sure the cell phone is on his hip and then he'll slide into his shiny black car and then the dark knight will drive the length of the driveway and turn right into the rest of his day.
I've always loved Fogelberg's song. But the words have taken on a deeper significance the older I've gotten, the older we've gotten. I guess it's why I hug the man so tight and whisper those three words through his silvering hair and hang on tight until it's time to go. I wish I could've stayed longer.
His gentle means of sculpting souls
Took me years to understand...
I thank you for the music
And your stories of the road
I thank you for the freedom
When it came my time to go --
I thank you for the kindness
And the times when you got tough
And, pap, I don't think I
Said I love you near enough --
The leader of the band is tired
And his eyes are growing old
But his blood runs through
And his song is in my soul --
My life has been a poor attempt
To imitate the man
I'm just a living legacy
To the leader of the band.