Pockets of Memories

Pockets of Memories

This Lewis Crawford poem jogged my memories of Dad. Not the brutality of the abuse from the poem, but the reminder of what jagged edges our memories have and what shows itself as memories of the person.

I remember few conversations from my childhood with my father, but I remember lying on my stomach on the floor in front of the television, watching “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” with him every weekend.

I remember that he always carried a plastic baggie with peppermint candies in it, a Vicks nasal inhaler, though I never remember him using it,

and a chapstick. He had a funny way of puckering up his lips so he could chapstick both lips at the same time.

He carried a large metal thermos of black tea to work every day, along with a medium-sized green-lidded cooler with his lunch in it. Mom sold her plasma for months to save up to buy him the thermos.

His leather wallet was always bulging with cards and pictures, though he never owned a credit or ATM card. I suspect it was a similar feeling to his coin collection arising from his childhood of great poverty. The goal was abundance, be it coins or wallet cards. There was security in having.

On November 7 he’ll have been gone 14 years, and there are so many questions I’d like to ask.

I know that he enjoyed the painting part of building and rehab.

He took great pride in the beauty of working with copper for plumbing.

I can remember how he’d flip over an empty 5-gallon bucket to be just the right height for sitting down to wire electrical outlets.

But I never asked him he liked working with his brother, Uncle Lloyd, or how he felt about “the boys” (my brothers) going into the trade. Or which of his siblings he liked best, or why he stopped going to church.

The years will continue to mellow my memories for him. He was not easy, but Dear God I’m grateful he was my dad.

He was so proud of my degrees.

There’s his lunch cooler.

The only person who could get Buds to wear bibs.

He would pop up to visit us in the Big Yellow House at least once a day. I’m preggers with Buster here.

Holding a sleeping Buster.

Half of them gone, none of them forgotten.