We’ve been up since 5:30 this morning. Sue woke up sick. And thus ended our night. Daddy got up to help me, but I couldn’t settle back to sleep.
We were early risers today, but my daddy was always an early riser. Most of my growing up years he owned and operated a sawmill. He always said the best part of being your own boss was you could choose which 12 hours of the day you wanted to work. Most days he chose 12+ hours.
But every night he came in to watch the eleven o’clock news. He wanted to see the weather. Every night he would fall asleep at the commercial break just before the weather and wake up as soon as the report finished. Every.Night.
My daddy was a walking miracle. He really was.
He worked as a welder before he started the sawmill. One day at work, when I was five or six, he was run over by a hi-lo at work. It narrowly missed his head. Very narrowly. He had to have back surgery and as part of it they fused two discs together. He could not bend his back for a year following the surgery. And he followed the rules. He got very good at squatting down to do things. I remember so clearly his squatting down to pick strawberries in the patch we had along the fence. Seriously people, I can see it in my mind’s eye like it was yesterday.
I took my girls strawberry picking this year for the first time. We had a great time going out on a train ride, picking strawberries, having cider and donuts and playing on these huge wooden play structures. I wish my daddy could have seen it.
There is no end to the things I wish he could see. But most of all, I wish I could let go of the regret and guilt I have over the years I lost with my daddy. There were so many times I went up north to visit my mom and didn’t go to his place. There were so many holidays I should have called, but I didn’t know exactly what to say. I would give anything to do those lost years over.
But I can’t. So please forgive me as a few times a year I pour out my memories and regrets here, please forgive my attempts to salve my guilty conscience. I loved him so much, but I lost a few years. And now he’s gone. Nine years gone.