Saturday, January 05, 2008

When I'm ninety-four.

I'm the little guy in this picture. The big guy behind me is my Dad. I was about nine months old when this was taken, and that would make him just shy of 39 years old. He lived for about 15 more years. He died just a little over 40 years ago, on New Year's Eve 1967.

But - I've only given you a photograph and some basic math. I'm told that I am the little guy in the picture. The big guy is defintely my Dad. He looks happy. I'm guessing that my Mom is taking the picture, so there I am - sandwiched between two people who loved me.

I wasn't even nearly a human being when he died - I was still a blob of some sort. Didn't know who or what I might turn out to be, and didn't really have much to talk to him about.
I can see him clearly in my mind, on that wicker chaise in the background. He'd have a terrycloth jacket and a Phillies cap and a transistor radio and maybe a beer, and he'd sit back on that chaise and listen to the baseball games in the summer.
He gave me that wonderful right hand of his to grip. When I got older he told me about the importance of having clean hands - clean, well manicured fingernails. He told me a secret about how he'd punched a man once. He was ashamed and proud of it and he wanted me to understand. I think I did.
Another thing I understand now is how quickly fifteen years can go by.

I put this post up and took it down more than once. On one hand, I felt that I was charmed by the photo and sort of wrote something just to justify posting it. On the other hand, children and families and the crazy passage of time are still relevant. Maybe more than ever.
To quote Jackson Browne " . . . they say in the end, it's the blink of an eye."