Listening to Johnny Cash makes me think of my dad.
Especially Johnny’s later songs – when his voice was still beautiful but had a warble to it. My dad does not have the ability to speak quietly – he has a deep booming voice that makes me think that he could sing like Johnny.
I wish I could put into words what I’m feeling right now. I just came back from spending the weekend with my parents and I didn’t want to leave. Ever. Not that I didn’t want to get back to my children and animals – not that at all. But I think – after all this time – I finally appreciate my parents. I’ve always loved them – sometimes to the point of tears: I remember being 5 or 6 years old, spinning on my swingset, crying because I was thinking about what it would be like to be an adult and not have my mom and dad with me.
Conversation between my dad and me has always been a little awkward. Not bad awkward but just odd. My dad is unbelievably smart and he is staunch in his beliefs. Being a forester, he knows the woods – that is his life. He, like me, is not chatty. Neither one of us can hold a conversation and much prefer to sit in each other’s company and just know the other is there.
My dad worries that I don’t get enough rest. Not true. Like him, I fall asleep everytime I sit down to read or watch television. My dad worries a lot about me. And I’ve given him plenty of reason to worry. I was a teenager who was totally unpredictable. I’ve been divorced twice. I’ve filed bankruptcy. I’ve been sick to the point of being hospitalized for a month.
I want my dad to be around forever. But I can see the proof of aging. He’s walking a little slower and little more unsteady. Sometimes he repeats himself. My mom says he’s getting forgetful. I hate living so far away from them and everytime I visit, I swear that I will come back in a few weeks. I guess I usually do. During the football season, I see them quite often. I just want to spend so much time with them that I have memories enough to keep me when they are gone.
My dad has mellowed as he has gotten older. He doesn’t drink like he used to, he doesn’t get as angry at telemarkers like he used to, he doesn’t send letters to the editor about the injustice of land rapers anymore. Who my dad has become is a guy who loves animals, chocolate, and his family – not necessarily in that order (or maybe so). He’s a man who seems to accept that because of his instability on his feet, people need to be with him as he works in the forests (yes, he still works as a consultant forester!). But he seems to be happy that he has more time to read.
While I’ve always loved my father, I adore who he’s become.
Love you Dad!