In the Name of the Father

4 May

This morning, Fr. M, the organist, and I were discussing plans for the service on the 25th. He will be away, and we will have a supply.  I always serve as chalistist on the last Sunday, as it is Rite I, which I infinitely prefer to Rite II.

This will also be our Memorial Day service, as it will be in places of worship all over the United States. I asked the organist, that if she was going to do Eternal Father, to please use it as the recessional. I explained that I had followed my father’s coffin to the cemetery to that hymn – and began to cry.  M+ put his arm around me and asked if I really thought I could make it back down the aisle without falling to pieces. I nodded, and mumbled “If we hurry”. He promised he’d have the supply “keep an eye on me”.  He had had to follow me into the narthex last Veterans Day, and put me in his office, out of sight, until I was fit to be seen in public.

My dad died fifteen years ago, on the first of May. You’d think I’d have managed to keep myself held together after all this time.

I talk a lot about my mum, simply because she was such an “odd duck”, to be as kind as possible. Dealing with her was like watching a bird feeder. You never knew what was coming next, and her foibles make good fodder for funny stories.

I don’t have a lot of stories to tell about my dad, simply because his kindness was so constant. One time I offered to scrub the kitchen floor for my mum; I was probably about eleven, and the job had to be done on hands and knees with a scrub brush and bucket. I got about three-quarters finished and was totally wiped out, and nearly in tears from exhaustion. He quietly tapped me on the shoulder and silently nodded his head, then got down and finished the floor for me.  I used to get earaches, and he would hold me on his lap and blow cigar smoke into my ears to melt the wax. Was it the warmth of his breath or just snuggling up that made me feel better?

My dad was like a big old wing chair. Always there, steady, comfortable, soft where he needed to be, and firm when he had to be.  And I still miss him. Dreadfully.

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