I paid my dad a visit today. I was going to make it official on Sunday but it was a beautifully sunny day so why wait for potential rain to muck things up. I brought him one of his favorite gifts…a jar of olives, the queen size olives! He loved eating olives but my mom always yelled at him if he ate the ones in the cupboard that were reserved for holidays, when guests came. I always thought that was a silly rule; same as the one where you don’t use ‘the good silverware & dishes’ for every day. So I broke the rule (I do that sometimes) and bought him big jars of queen size olives for any special occasion I could think of…and mom wasn’t allowed to have any control over them. He got pretty excited over having his own jar of olives. It didn’t take much to please my dad.
My dad was quite a talker and storyteller. It could be why I likewise have a tendency to talk a great deal. Today we were both pretty quiet. I toasted him with the jar of olives; a thank you for what a great job he did helping mom raise me. Then I silently ate olives while memories of my life with him ran through my head like a black & white filmstrip. The tears come with the understanding that there will be no more hugs & kisses, no more sharing our humor & stories, no more tender moments of dad’s love. It’s quite a conundrum, this sense of loss despite the feeling that he hasn’t left my side.
I watched the busyness of the ants for a while streaming across the fresh dirt and across my legs. I poured some of the olive juice over the grave and told dad I loved him and then I did what any self-respecting gardener would do…I picked the weeds out of the dirt. It’s all nice and tidy again waiting for the grass to grow back in. I’m not much of a grave visitor, I think everyone should be cremated, but maybe just for now, maybe Sunday, flowers would look nice on that little patch of dirt.
UPDATE: It’s the next day, Saturday the 15th, and #3 and I have gone shopping for supplies each of us need for our overseas adventures. We finally stopped for lunch; our stomachs had become quite unruly with their growliness. While we were waiting for our food the Kansas song Dust in the Wind started playing, to my surprised enjoyment. “Hi Dad, glad you could have lunch with us!” He loved going out to eat, always asking us to go along. “I’ll pick up the tab this time Dad. Thanks for coming along.”