What I Remember About My Father
I remember my father's anger
He kicked me once when I was being naughty. I had run down to the basement bedroom and slammed the door hoping he would not come after me. He burst open the door and slammed it against the wall. I huddled myself on the bed. I remember his boot hitting my leg, and him walking out in a huff. I cried myself to sleep.
I remember my father rushing into my bedroom with a bucket of water to put out the fire that was shooting out of my mattress. My sister and I wanted dim light for the game we were playing. When we were called for supper, we left the lamp with the light bulb covered on the bed. He turned the mattress over so that the hole would be underneath, and let us know that buying a new one was not an option. We didn’t ask why.
I remember my father's disappointment
I remember my father shaking his head the first time I tried to drive a pickup in the field. I couldn’t seem to get the hang of the clutch and the shifting of the gears. I lurched forward ten feet at a time while he stood watching on the other side of the field.
Later, when I was trying to drive truck, I backed the truck box into the potato combine. My father shouted loudly to get me to stop and said a few words I will not repeat. When he got into the truck to correct my error, I could see that he was not pleased by the look in his eyes.
I remember my father's sadness
I remember the day my brother died. The neighbors brought his body in the back of the pickup after he drowned in the gravel pit. I didn’t know what was happening, just that my father had to go out and look. When he came back in, there were tears in his eyes. He said that my brother was gone. I didn’t know what to do.
I remember the day my grandmother died. She was in the hospital and my father had just been fighting canal waters to keep one of his farms from flooding. He came into the house and said it was no use, that he almost lost his tractor. Then he lost his mother.
I remember my father's eyes
I remember the faraway look he had when he was at the table eating. He usually didn’t say much until one of us kids said or did something we shouldn’t. Then he would tell us why we were being unruly or why it was that we didn’t have money to waste food or make pig swill out of it.
I remember him sleeping on the sofa and snoring loudly. He wanted to make sure that he watched the weather when the news came on at 10:00 p.m. I would frequently find him at midnight there on the sofa, with the television hissing from being off the air. He rarely heard the weather.
I remember my father eating bread and milk and green onions for supper. When I asked him why, he said that he liked it. He never complained much, but he wasn’t really happy either. He wanted to do what was right; however, the weather didn’t cooperate or the neighbors caused problems with the water. He often drove us out to the dry farms on Sunday so he could see how crops were supposed to grow.
Most of all, I remember my father's love
I remember the way my father wept when I told him that I loved him. He said that he hadn’t done anything to deserve it. That didn’t matter. He may not have seen me perform in the choir or the school play. He may not have watched me hit a home run on the church baseball team or been there to see me speak at graduation, but I knew that he loved me.
I remember my father taking care of my grandfather before he died. They sat next to each other at the table when we ate. Grandpa would quote scriptures and poetry that he remembered from his youth, then my father would take him outside while he worked. Grandpa had a hard time remembering where he was and would sometimes wander off, but Dad would always bring him back, just like he always brings me back. He helps me remember. Thanks for everything, Dad.