Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Line Of Gold Thread

"There's something like a line of gold thread running through a man's
words when he talks to his daughter, and gradually over the years it
gets to be long enough for you to pick up in your hands and weave
into a cloth that feels like love itself."
- John Gregory Brown, Decorations in a Ruined Cemetary

Today is my father's birthday and I can't ever remember a time when I didn't want to be like him. In many ways, I am. And I love it.

Before I was born, my father decorated my room. He didn't know I was going to be a girl (because in those days you just didn't know) yet he swathed my room in pink and made a silver stork out of tin foil to hang over the crib. He was thrilled that I turned out to be a baby girl and I became his Princess that very instant.

He bought me my first fur coat, my first Easter bonnet, my first pair of patent leather shoes and my first dress. He always bought me flowers and a heart shaped box of chocolates on Valentine's Day. He was there for my first school play and my first Holy Communion. He was devastatingly handsome and always made me feel like the most special girl in the world.

He taught me how to stand up for myself in school. He explained the tactics of a Kamikaze. He taught me, unintentionally, how to lie to get out of going to work when you had something more fun to do (a fractured eyelash is hard to argue with). He taught me how to cook. He taught me how to play horseshoes and ring toss. He told me you can always judge a man by his shoes and he told me to listen to my mother (which he still tells me).

Our house was always warm and loving and welcoming. My parents entertained quite a bit. As my mother "worked the room", my father cooked, told jokes, made Johnny Mathis a little louder and smacked my mother on the ass as she walked by. He had the best looking woman in the room and he wanted to make it known. A little Neanderthal, I guess, but that was the 70's. He is a Leo and he personified it in every way.

Daddy was not always the best with words, but he always made himself heard. I would say "I love you" to him and he would say "me to you" back. Even without the actual words, I knew he loved me. I still do. He would frequently ask about the oil in my car (did I change it?), my tires (are they bald yet?), my boyfriends (is he treating you right? Cause if he isn't, I'll kill him), my jobs (if you just applied yourself...), my money situation (here's a twenty) and my diet (just eat salad, chicken and water - it's easy).

We have become closer in the last few years and I have been able to spend much more time with him than I used to. I've always made time for him in my life and I am constantly in contact with him, but this time it's different. I feel like I'm getting to know him a little better and I know that he loves my presence in his life. I can feel it when I'm with him. I can see the love in his eyes. He chokes up sometimes when he talks and thinks I don't notice. He will sniff, then wipe his eye, pretending he has something in it. And he hugs me a little harder and a lot longer when I leave.

I can probably make a cloth of love now, but I want to know deeper who he is. I want more years with him and I want more of his words.

A girl can never have enough gold.

1 comment:

Darcy said...

Hi! This is Frances. First of all, I was floored by the comment you've left in my latest blog entry. Your generous praises made me blush (with pleasure :)).

I take that you found my blog through Stephanie Klein's blog? It's just a guess, since I don't use my real name on my blog, because I don't really show it to people around me.

This entry about your dad really touched me, especially the paragraph that started out with "Daddy was not always the best with words". It was funny, and it made me smile. I think every girl with a non-dysfunctional father should be able to relate to what you've written. Since you mentioned that you have some interest in Chinese culture, I'll tell you that many Chinese parents don't really know how to love their children right, indulging them with materialism so that the children can study hard and live well (basically, making no emotional connection with their kids). I'm lucky to have parents who are also two of my best friends.

One more thing: I guess I'm still young and ignorant, because I always sort of thought the kind of life you lead around the country only belong in the novels and movies about people who are always moving from town to town in a car. But now I can laugh at myself and read through your archives. I was fascinated when I read your profile, and you have a very uncluttered and honest writing style that I find refreshing.

So, I think I'll add a link of your site to mine, for the sake of my own navigation, and to point others to your site :).