Less than a week ago I was contemplating…..Contemplating my father’s reaction upon seeing his special delivery. That of his three grown daughters falling from the sky to land on the front of his stoop, surprising him at his home in Arizona. Two coming from the state of Texas, one from St. Louis, Missouri.
After arriving by plane and renting a car, we parked a few feet away to slither to the front of his house like a local rattle snake, albeit one without any venom. Giggling like school girls we were nervous to knock on his massive wooden door nearly six inches thick. “You do it,” my middle sister said. “No, you,” I responded, jiggling the skinny of her arm in gleeful anticipation. Finally, our youngest sister pushed both of us out of the way, rolling sapphire eyes in mock disgust. “Tap, tap, tap,” her knuckles loudly rapped.
Today, I’m reflecting……Reflecting upon every moment spent with my father. The whole of each second is stuffed inside denim pockets or hidden within silken folds of wrinkled shirtsleeves waiting to be unpacked. Before I shake them out I must push them deep to the far corners of my mind, lest they forever be lost. Every joke and laugh, smile and tilt of his head, hug, silly story told, family minute and clink of our glasses to cheer our past. This I must remember for all my future it must last.
My father was totally surprised when he opened the door, nearly falling to his knees with a look of shock and joy. My sisters and I sat with Dad on a western sofa while he finished his curly chicken noodle soup to tell him of our plans for the next few days. It was the first time he did not balk at our staying in a hotel. Truth be told, I think he was a bit relieved since he was recuperating from Vertigo. He needed to rest, after all.
Around a table of square that evening, girls with giggles shared wine of liquid red from bubbled glasses clear. Later, in the shadows of a stark hotel room, whispered voices wafted over down comforters, reminiscing of long ago youth. Stories of high school days, cheerleading, old boyfriends with shoulder length hair and parties where record players blared. Mind photos of mini-skirts, bell bottom pants, first cars and learning lines in plays.
The next day my two younger brothers joined us. It was the first time we were all together in nearly four years. There were smiles and laughter with a little bit of teasing now and again for old time’s sake. We nibbled on cubes of cheese like scampering mice while snapping pictures with camera phones. Later, under twinkling stars in the blackest sky we sang Karaoke songs to the top of our lungs. Eyes glowed fluorescent green in the luster of a yellow moon, and if one looked close enough, scraggly coyotes scattered every which way.
On our last day together, we all shared a grand lunch followed by visiting relatives while enjoying the desert sun. We prayed over my aunt’s struggling fruit trees, and shared a delicious pink grapefruit, freshly picked. My youngest sister, who recently passed her Personal Training certification gave my father a lesson in Yoga, much to all of our delight! A picture of him in the CHI position is my very favorite, one I shall treasure always.
In reflecting upon my trip to Arizona, I had the greatest time with my sisters, my brothers and of course, my father too. It seems like weeks were packed into a small duffel of four days. The CHI picture is my fondest reflection of my father. His love of life, all people and especially family. I do not take my time with him for granted. Not one minute nor a second on the clock. Every moment that I think of him is a reflection, a mirror on the wall, a ticking watch wrapped around my wrist forever to remind me.