Sunday, November 12, 2006

One perfect day

A glorious day in my hometown yesterday, spent in the company of family in honor of my father's 89th birthday. It was cool and the blue of the sky was so intense it was breathtaking. Ponca City is full of trees and the colors of the leaves against the cerulean sky are sufficient to convince me that the Creator is an incomparable artist.

We went to a Veteran's Day parade! A parade!! I haven't been to one in 30 years or more. Daddy is a veteran of World War II and it was so moving to stand with him while the old planes flew overhead, while the vets passed, waving, in their classic cars, while the Army band played those American classics that will bring tears to the eyes of even the most sophisticated and cynical. I am neither of those things, being far too emotional to hold on to sophistication, and fighting vigorously against cynicism in all its forms. Something in my heart and soul opened up and it almost seemed as if there were a connection, truly, between those who sacrificed so much for our freedom and the intense gratitude I feel for their incomprehensible selflessness. Could they possibly sense that? I hope so.

I have said before and was reminded again that a life of days filled with laughter and love, with moments of being moved to tears by gratitude or affection or sadness, is the best kind of life. I am so easily distracted from these basics, and then when I am standing beside my father, when he turns to me and smiles as ancient planes swoop low, shaking the earth, when the small town crowd cheers and applauds, when the band plays and it all comes together into this crescendo of perfection . . . I get tears in my eyes and I think remember this! remember this moment, this feeling, this time, don't ever forget how this feels, this sweet moment in this glorious life. Remember him. Don't ever forget this day, his loving brown eyes, the look of delight on his face, the feel of his warm hand in my own on this one perfect day.

Tears in my eyes again, writing this. My tears are, for me, the measure of reality, of finding a way past the tougher surface of a life down into what matters. What matters is the love I have for this man. It matters that I could spend a day with him and hug him and love him and let him know it and feel it. It was a good day yesterday ~ he was a little forgetful, but wholly present. That is a treasure, an incalculable and unexpected gift. I am so, so grateful.

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Blogger Red Seven said...

Wow -- what a moving tribute to your dad. My father is also a veteran, having served 30+ years in the Navy, including some combat time during the conflict in Vietnam. These days, I'm a big ol' peacenik liberal who believes that the best way to "support the troops" is not to send them off to die in stupid, pointless wars ... and yet, I'm filled with gratitude for those who lay their lives on the line to protect my freedom, and need to remember to feel this way more often. Congrats to you for a perfect moment in time; they're too rare and too precious.

November 12, 2006 1:55 PM  

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