The snow delayed their departure one day...sometimes, one day is enough. My girlfriend and my mother drove off to places like Michael's and Hobby Lobby, places, I believe, ill-suited for men. My three kids hunkered down in the back bedroom to play Wii games like Mario and My Simms, games designed, I believe, for young folks.
Being men and in our sixties and forties, my dad and I were left with, well, one another. And sometimes, one another is more than enough.
I'm aware that not everyone has a good relationship with their father. On the list of classic human themes, the father-son dance has always been high on the list. I believe it always will be. But these days, these later days, my love for the man who gave me my name is such that it undoes me to even type about it. It is a gift, a grace unearned and undeserved, a beautiful dusk.
We found ourselves sitting in the den, my dad with his laptop resting on the faded jeans he so often wears. He wanted to show me a song he'd found on YouTube. And so as the kids in our lives progressed to the next level and the ladies in our lives scanned the wicker-aisle, we sat close to one another and listened as an Irish lad wept
The sun's shining down on these green fields of France;
The warm wind blows gently, and the red poppies dance.
The trenches have vanished long under the plow;
No gas and no barbed wire, no guns firing now.
But here in this graveyard that's still No Man's Land
The countless white crosses in mute witness stand
To man's blind indifference to his fellow man.
And a whole generation who were butchered and damned.
And he began to weep. I then asked if he'd heard "Requiem for a Soldier" - he typed it in and we listened as an operatic beauty sang
You never lived to see
What you gave to me
One shining dream of hope and love
Life and liberty
With a host of brave unknown soldiers
For you company, you will live forever
Here in our memory
And I joined his weeping. He then asked about an artist I'd mentioned to him - Pierce Pettis. A quick type of the keys and we listened as a quirky young man strummed about a "State of Grace." The tears were not light, gentle drops, but water from the deeps, grace-fed springs.
So, basically, my dad and I sat around listening to music and wiping our eyes on a Saturday afternoon as the sun inched closer to its hiding place behind the mountains. It was one of the best days I've had in a long, long time. You may ask Why the tears? I do not know for certain. Maybe we wept for the fathers and sons separated by wars and rumors of wars, both literal and not so; men, young and old, who did the best they could in this world and hoped it was enough for the next. Maybe my dad wept for his father, now gone, who often fills his dreams. Maybe I wept for my son, still here, who is my dream come true. And maybe we wept at the feet of something called grace which defies definition, but you know it when you hear it or feel it on your cheeks or sit beside it. So many times, the desire to define leads us far from our hearts. And maybe we wept because men usually cannot; we are so often called upon to be steel. Tears of sorrow and longing and wonder and gratitude; a literature of hope read on our faces.
When the ladies returned and the games were all over, our clan drove to Carl's Jr. for dinner. We're simple folk. My dad and I both ordered Kentucky Bourbon burgers which did not live up to their hype. Nevertheless, as we ate them across from one another, someone in our group said It's been a good day. My father reached across and took my hand: Yes...we don't know how many more we'll have.
No, we do not. But sometimes, one day is enough. More than enough.