He was standing beside the trail. Fifteen feet away, on a long leash, the little white poodle stood and stared. I hiked by—greeting the old man and acknowledging the dog. Not moving, the dog just stared. The man spoke, “Her get up and go has got up and went.”
And for a moment, I felt, like a gentle breeze,the spirit of my Daddy. He used to say, “My get up and go has got up and went.” And then, In the brief passing, the aroma of my Daddy infiltrated my body.
Father’s day comes around every year. Someone said that we need to acknowledge our fathers. And so we have a ritualized time to think, to thank, to talk about those men who might have blessed our lives. We remember their all to human qualities through which we might have glimpsed divine love.
But, I think I prefer my Dad moments like I had on the trail—breezes of memory that tousle my hair and tickle the senses. They sneak up on me like the smell of the old Model T exhaust that puts me back on the wooden knee of my Granddad who took me and my sibs over to the gas station in southern Oklahoma and gave us a penny to put in the gum-ball machine where two or three trinkets were dispenses with each piece of gum.
They bring tears to my eyes as I smell the aroma of machine oil that impregnated the overalls as I ran to hug “Daddy-Buggin” as he came home from the machine shop where he worked to provide a living for his wife and five children.
Or, the scrub of a man’s beard on my cheek and I am right back in my Daddy’s lap being rubbed by his Saturday unshaved chin. Oh, how I long to tell him how much those times meant to me.
These are the moments of memory I love. They surprise me, reminding me of the presence that is so deeply woven into my soul that it takes an unguarded word, smell or touch to open my mind and heart to the gifts that have blessed me. This way, father’s day comes here and there, now and then, more like the reality of deep love than in just on a calendar date once a year.