Letters From A Son: Pop

Wintertime 2011

The tide moved in early to show the face of an old memory. I feel the sands surrounding my footsteps, and moving closer to the edge of an ocean, I am me between the land and sea, hopeful as ever, dreaming, thinking of the time I was a small boy and placed my footsteps in the path of my Old Man.

The way we stand alone sometimes is more poignant than how we stand amongst the crowd.
Sometimes, the best company to be in is us, by ourselves, to stand and just take notice—to watch the world change and to check the clock of Father Time and see the changes we need to be aware of.

Life moves. (You know?)
I saw a picture of a child; only the child had grown and was unpacking his things and placing them in the drawer of his dresser at his college dorm room.
Life changes. It moves.

Just like the tide –
Always coming in and then going out.
Just like the scattered bodies of summer; always digging into the shores with their temporary smiles and transient promises; only coming around when the weather is right. Everyone is around in times like this.
(But what about now?)

See, the ocean understands this because to Her, this is only movement.
The waves have no opinion either way.
Neither do the tides and neither do the sea.
It’s just movement
(Like life.)
It’s not personal

As for myself, I love an empty beach in the winter. I can think here without any interruptions.
Snow partially covers the dunes, which lay still, which contain tiny remnants of summertime, and there She lay, the beach, waiting for the spring to come along and warm the sands, which is where I stand, alone, thinking about a visit or a familiar “Hello” to come along and intercept the silence.


 As a kid –
I used to walk the beach with my father on the first day of every year. New Year’s Day. This was us.
This was the day when we were most like the sea: forgetful of the past and forgiving. (Remember?)

Waves hit the shore beneath a gray sky. It was nice enough to give sound at a time when nothing else needed to be said.

I remember how the wind moved through the silver of my father’s hair. His brow clenched downward, his eyes glistening; watery from the cold sweep of a the winds on January 1st
With all I had, I wished to be something like him. With all I could, I followed the footsteps he left in the sand.

He was my hero


Saw a photograph of my father the other day –
He was smiling and wearing and hooded-sweatshirt. I remembered this picture very well.
I saw a photograph of my Father, which reminded me of the time we went fishing off the piers at Shinecock Canal

It was early and the day and cold. I was bundled up in jackets with a pair of my little mittens on my hands to keep my fingers from freezing up. There was ice on the driftwood and a slow tide moved through the canal. I watched the end of my line and sat there, waiting and hoping, with no idea what to expect.

After noticing movement at the tip of my fishing rod The Old Man pulled my line and I’ll never forget the way he shouted.

“You got a fish!”

I reeled in a small flounder. The fish was little but to me, this was one of the biggest memories of my childhood.
He was so happy.
So proud.

I recall the echo of The Old Man’s cheer and how this mixed with the sounds of startled geese, flapping their wings to fly from the canal

I never saw him like this before.


Point Lookout, July 9 2011

Standing at the shoreline, I watch the waves come in. The ocean was cold around my ankles. This represents freedom to me; to feel the sun on my face, the wind in my hair, and the ocean at my feet.
Step by step, I moved into the rising tide. The further I went, the more I forget about the water’s chill.
I was consumed by the beautiful current. These waves are like redemption to me. They are a link to childhood innocence. The waves are a reminder of a time before the behavior wars began.

After you pass a certain distance, the bottom of the sea becomes sandy-smooth. I stood chest deep, allowing the water to surge around me. I haven’t felt that way since the first time my Pop taught me how to body-surf. He showed me how to ride the waves.
I guess I must have gotten lost for a minute, because I never heard the whistles.
Heading toward shore, I began to tread water. I waited for the best wave to ride home.

They must have whistled for a few minutes. The lifeguards, I mean. I noticed a life guard ducking the waves and swimming towards me. “You can only go in waist deep,” he said.

Times have changed, I thought to myself.

This December 2019, it will be 30 years since I have seen my father.
To us, Point Lookout was Holy ground.

By the way:

You would have liked my father. And he would have liked you. He was the best storyteller of all times.

Someday, I will be just like him

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