Yesterday was a special day . . .
I’m not sure what yesterday would have been like if you were still around. I wonder what time you would have come by and how the tables and barbecue would have been set up and ready. I suppose you would probably be wearing the retired man’s outfit or something comfortable and golf-like, white shoes, a pair of casual shorts, and a Florida-like design on a collared polo shirt with maybe a gold watch around your wrist and a white baseball hat on your head.
I like to think about where you would sit if you came to visit. I like to think about the way you might sit on my couch and watch television or how you would sit on the deck out back and how you would look out at the mountains around my home.
I think this place of mine would make you smile. I think you would like the nearby lake that I fish at sometimes.
None of the fish are exceptionally big (except for the carp, which I never catch) but then again, I don’t really fish there to catch fish per-se. Actually, the reason i go hear is because the lake is peaceful and country-like. The water is mainly still and reflects the sky like a mirror. It’s quiet here, except for when the fish jump, which they do jump often. I think you would like it here
I think you would like my home too. I think you would like the way we have it set up and I think if you came by, you would probably be like me and wake up early just to see the daybreak and watch the dear cut through the wooded side of my property.
I try to imagine the stories you would tell us if you came by. And it’s strange because I know I’ve heard most of your stories at least a hundred times or maybe more, but still, it would be nice if you were to come over and tell a few of them again. I know Claire would like them. and I know you would make her laugh too. she would like that.
And so would I.
It’s been so long that I almost can’t remember the sound of your voice. Maybe this is why I imagine it so often —this way I won’t forget. If my math is right, it’ll be 29 years this December. You would have been 90 yesterday.
I could use you now, Pop. I have some things I need to talk about. And I try talk to you. That’s why I go and fish at the pond up the street. I go there and speak to the quiet mountain air. I cast a fishing lure out to the waters and reel it in while listening to the quiet. I speak out, but I’m still not sure how to listen to your responses.
I have this memory of us. I was young (of course) and we were fishing in the bay from the shoreline at Wantagh Park. The sun was high and hot. Remember?
I cut the bottom of my foot on a clam shell while wading in the knee-deep waters. You had asked if I was okay, which I was, for the most part. I mean, the cut was big on my little foot and the pain hurt, but spending time with you like this was rare —and well, truthfully I would have let my leg fall off and said nothing about it.
I remember you perfectly. Your skin was tanned from the sun and the sunlight glistened on your forehead. I recall the way you looked out at the water. I recall the way you stood and watched a small red and white float dance on the water while fishing for snappers. We used live killies for bait, remember?
I tried to stand the same way you were standing. I tried to make the same face as you.
I tried to be exactly like you and i’m still trying to this day.
I recall the way you looked out, inquisitively, eyes squinting with deep thought and eyebrows folded downward to define the sense of introspective intensity. Your salt and pepper hair flying in the warm summer wind with a hairline that was slightly receding. And me, I stood there beside you, fishing with a cut in the bottom of my foot —only, I couldn’t feel the pain because I was too happy to be spending time with you.
I have so much to say and so much to show you.
I have a few things I need help with that I couldn’t share with anyone else.
I know people say you would be proud. Mom used to say I was a spitting image of you. And she would tell me, “Your Father was the same way,” on occasion. To be honest, I’m not sure what helps. I’m not sure if it helps when people tell me you would be proud and how you would see me. I suppose the painful truth is I don’t want to hear this from anyone else. Truth is I just need to hear it from you.
God, this would be so much easier if you were here . . .
I had a dream the other night. I can’t say that I remember much about the dream, but there was something about butterflies. I was pointing to a picture frame with a large yellow and black butterfly. I was small in my dream. I was more childlike.
The best I can recall, I placed a framed butterfly in clear glass on the wall—I’m not sure what kind of butterfly it was —I guess the coloring was like a Monarch’s, only the colors were yellow and black instead of orange and black. Then I woke up because the room felt cold, which is odd for me because i rarely feel cold.
I saw one of those butterflies when I was walking over towards the pond the yesterday. I didn’t catch much when I was there —just a decent sized sunfish and two smallmouths on a little orange spinner. But like I said, I didn’t go there to fish per-se. I went there to clear my head and think about what it would be like to come home and have you as a guest at my house.
Hope you had a Happy Birthday, Pop.
I miss you.
Swing by when you can. I can use a good talk if you have the time.