Wednesday, December 23, 2009
“Cavorting!” … This is the word that proclaimed itself to my mind in the instant of my awakening. That is what Dad and I had just been doing. Then I awoke … and had the immediate realization ... “Dad is gone!” (for this is, in truth, the sad fact.) Yet I was stilled for a moment by the suddenness of my recollection. What I had just been enjoying was a memory of something that had never been a common reality for Dad and me … “cavorting together” (though he and I had a long-running, tacit understanding that we would have loved to.)
The closest that we ever came was on that Thanksgiving Day, some years ago, when I showed up, at the home that he and Mom shared, with the promised Thanksgiving feast purchased from a restaurant. All of the side dishes were prepared and ready. All that was required (as I now recall) was the baking of the turkey, made ready, by the restaurant, in a pan.
Given the fact that a span of a few hours was needed for the roasting of “the bird”, Dad and I obtained the reluctant approval, from Mom (who did not like the idea of joining us, in our excursion, "just for the fun of it") for the two of us to set out on an exploratory drive ... in my new Jeep Cherokee.
So … off we went. And I do not remember having ever seen Dad letting himself enjoy such a child-like delight in an adventure. Lighthearted laughter and freedom of spirit were our comfortable companions. Me and my Dad. My Daddy and I. Us! Father and Son. It was glorious!
We drove to a spot that had a view over the Bay to the flashing light of, what remains of, the Egmont Key Lighthouse, where his Dad (my Grandfather), had served as Assistant Lighthouse Keeper, in Dad’s youth. We read the inscription on the memorial to the sailors lost in the sinking of a Coast Guard ship … whilst savoring the distinct aromas of the head-waters of the Bay.
We treated ourselves to some silly snacks from vending machines (something that Dad had always considered an expense far beyond rational reason.) I showed him new avenues of travel made possible by the construction of bridges and roadways that he had no idea existed. And we arrived back home later than Mom had allowed was considerate of her.
As I spoke with Dad through the open window of the Jeep, upon taking my leave, and subsequent to a very miserable evening, of strained submission, to an air of guilt and reproof, Dad said only “I’ll never do that again!” Which proved (unfortunately) to be quite prophetic, on his part.
But we did, just that once, cavort! And it was enough for me to have a recollection, upon my awakening, of how wonderful it was.
I miss you Dad. (And I miss all of the cavorting that we would have loved to have done ... but never did.)
[Definition: “Cavort”/ To act or behave in a jovial and exuberant fashion. ]
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