I was watching a life insurance commercial yesterday. A couple in their 60s or 70s were sitting in the backyard, each with open arms as their grandkids ran across the grass towards them.
There was a closeup of the man and I paused to look. “He’s familiar” roamed into my head. And then an older gentleman came rushing through … my father. Dad died in 1988.
I remembered all that well-combed grey hair. And then I paused again. The fellow on TV also reminded me of someone else … me. In this world of coronavirus, I’m long and grey.
“I’m just like my dad.”
How did this happen? The last time I looked, I was 25, fresh off a summer at the Prince of Wales Hotel in the Canadian Rockies. A hippieish young man. Had long hair back then too.
Mom always described Dad as a “card” and she was right. Big smiles and silly jokes. I used to cringe when the family was out driving in Toronto and we’d be approaching a cemetery. I knew what was coming: “People are just dying to get in there!”
In the years since, I’ve been known to say a dumb thing or two myself. (Me with a friend: “I’ve been working out a lot lately and my arms are getting really big. But I’m worried that I’m becoming … biceptual.” Folks groan with me just as I did with Dad.)
Dad used to dress up for kids’ parties. All sorts of weird colours and costumes. Hmm. I know a similar guy who donned a pillow-laden Santa suit quite a few times. Or created truly strange getups for elementary school Halloween dances.
Dad is long gone and also absolutely here with me. I believe he’s proud of who I’ve become. I honour him for his contributions to his family, his church and his community.
I love you, Dad