What I Remember Today (a Father’s Day reflection)

You, in a swimming pool …

Your outrageous kookaburra  laugh as you

Let my brother and me climb up on your shoulders and

Launch ourselves into the water.


You, at every holiday meal …

Armed with your electric knife,

Having lit every candle,

Saying a prayer for the meal

“And the hands that prepared it.”


You, at your desk,

Medical books opened, an old-fashioned

Cassette recorder playing lectures from a

Medical conference so you could always

Be at your best.


You, backing up the old camper

In a campsite under white pines,

Where you would soon light

The green Coleman camp stove for a

Pancake and sausage dinner, always

Holding the match between your second and third fingers,

Just so.


You, to my left at church,

Singing “The Old Rugged Cross”

With your vibrato voice cracking

And a tear on your right cheek.


You, intentionally overpaying that man who

Sold you firewood from his pickup, and that plumber

Who fixed the dishwasher, and that mechanic

Who repaired the Impala because you know they

“Needed a little extra.”


You, in an old paint-stained flannel shirt,

Cutting the lawn,

Back and forth,

Back and forth.


Me, at maybe four years old, having crawled

Into bed with you and mom on a Saturday morning,

Feeling safe and warm in a tangle of arms,

Inhaling the animal scent of your arm

And feeling the joy of being your son.