I've been thinking a lot about my dad lately. I think maybe more than I realize. Last week I had a dream about him. I don't remember what the dream was about except that he was in it and I awoke crying. Since then I keep flashing back to things that I remember about him over and over and I thought if I get some of them down somewhere it would help.
Things I think of when I think of my dad...
1. The word's "I love you". He was never one to keep an "I love you" to himself. He always told me. So much that when I think the words I hear them in his voice. And that is strange because I remember his strong voice, the one I heard from childhood and the voice he had only recently that was softer because part of his voice box was paralyzed. Even when it was hard for him to talk he always said "I love you". His last day in the hospital when he couldn't talk anymore, I told him I love you, and everyone in the room heard him try to say I love you too.
2. Big bear hugs that made me feel like a little girl, even at 35, all safe and warm. I haven't had one since February.
3. White bucket hat he wore in the middle of a big hole dug in the ground at the Diamond Mine in Arkansas. And a camo bucket hat that he had for years.
4. The way his thumbs could bend backwards too far from years of use as tools to push gold around stones. He was a master jeweler, one of the best. He put the stones in my wedding set and mother's ring.
5. ZZ Top, one of his favorite bands.
6. Guitars, dad always had a guitar laying around. I remember he and my brother were learning Bach and Beethoven, and he could play beautifully. He gave me my first guitar when I was 8 yrs old and I still have it. He gave me my last when I turned 34, it was one he had bought for himself that I had admired and loved the mellow sound of.
7. Black Labrador Retrievers. Several good ole friends over the years.
8. The house on 40th street.
9. Star Wars, I remember when I would go visit we would go out to the movies, I specifically remember seeing the Star Wars Trilogy and E.T. To this day I can't watch a movie at the theater without having a bag of Reece's Peaces, LOL.
10. "Projects" many many "projects" over the years. Reading, learning, thinking, building anything and everything. Some finished, some not, some left with instructions for my brother to finish.
11. "Bitter Sweet Orange" rock band from his teenage years. I always thought it was a cool name for a band.
12. A discussion about the highs and lows of depression, how he wouldn't take depression meds because he didn't want to give up the "highs" he felt just to avoid the "lows". The highs were a very creative and intuitive time for him. Sometimes I know how he felt.
13. The "Jones Smile" it's all in the look.
14. A letter I remember writing to him when I was little that he saved and I found in his things after he was gone.
15. Wiggly eyebrows. He could move them so fast, I tried hard to do it when I was little.
16. Dad's humor. One 4th of July a few years back someone brought over a gigantic roll of fire crackers and after it stopped popping about 10 minutes later we all stood in a circle around what was left of it, the tiny bits of red paper in piles all over, and dad says "I've never seen smithereens before, but there they are Actual Smithereens!" Everyone just laughed. He always had a quick wit and a funny thing to say, my son is a lot like him in that way.
17. Dr. Pepper. Dad was a loyal Dr. Pepper drinker his entire life. In the 80's EZ Mart sold these giant plastic cups that you could refill for 49 cents. They probably held a 2 liter of pop. Dad lived right down the street and would go fill up his cup with Dr. Pepper everyday. For years he did this even after they stopped selling the cups they would let him come in and get his Dr. Pepper. In January of this year Dad gave me an envelope full of old pictures and in those was a picture of a pickup truck from the 50's with a camper shell on the back. Dad told me that he remembered the day they went to get that camper shell installed on the truck, his mom and dad let him get a pop out of a machine, his first Dr. Pepper, he was about 5 years old.
18. Being walked down the isle at my wedding.
19. "Papa Jones" playing guitar to my oldest when she was a baby.
20. Plaid button down shirts and blue jeans. Tie Dye t-shirts.
21. An old crusty antique brass microscope that he restored to all it's original glory. A true museum piece.
22. A poem he wrote last year about his mom.
23. Dad told a friend that if you want to know that God exists, just take a bite of a food you love. There is no physical reason why we should be able to taste sweet, salty, or sour. Take a moment and enjoy that first bite and really think about it, that right there proves He's real. (Dad couldn't eat, or taste, or chew for the last eight months and food was all he could think about, he would watch the cooking channels a lot, he would have dreams about eating pies and fresh vegetables)
24. Thanksgiving at my great grandma Parlee's house. Just her, my dad and my brother and I.
25. The way he would plop his cigarettes and glasses down on the coffee table.
26. The way he reminded me to have a kind thought and look at things from a different perspective. One time I was upset because I didn't get a raise at work and dad asked me if I would still want that raise if it meant someone else had to be laid off? No, I didn't and I hadn't thought about it like that. He said it would come when it could. Perspective.
27. Pictures of him at deer camp and last year he said, do you think I haven't killed a deer during my life because I couldn't? I'm not that bad a shot. I never wanted to kill a deer. He just liked hanging out with the guys in the woods. I think he would have made a good nature photographer.
28. Escanaba In Da Moonlight, a very funny DVD about deer camp. Dad loved it along with Quest for fire, the Three Stooges, and Monty Python. Those and a lot of other movies watched late into the night.
29. I think of Tedd Knight too when I think of dad.
30. a last breath.
There are so many more things I think of when I think of him but these are enough for now.