by Bella Rum
We decided to drive about thirty miles south of here to look at houses in a 55-and-older community. The houses are new, beautiful, exactly what we’re looking for, but I’m not as enthusiastic as H is about the location. I love where we live now.
It was a beautiful day – 72 degrees – and positively balmy. The sun was shining in a blue sky. We opened the sunroof and howled. Okay, we didn’t howl, but our spirits did. Almost as good.
H and I have relaxed a lot over the past few months. We’re easier with each other, and some things have come back into our relationship that have been missing for a while. Things are good with us. I think of Dad all the time, and mostly in a good way.
Dad was clever and witty and as sharp as a person has a right to be. He was undereducated and over smart. He had a very high IQ, and he could figure out things in a second that would take others days. He was mentally and physically powerful. I never gave it a second thought, but my brother is still impressed that when he was a kid, Dad could beat every waterman in our area in arm wrestling. My brother told me that other men had to put their arms on books to reach his hand, because Dad’s arms were so long from elbow to hand they couldn’t reach his hand. I suppose this was a big deal to a little boy. He told me about a time when Dad took him fishing. He was five or six. Dad caught a fish. My brother said it scared the hell out of him because when Dad pulled it in the boat, it was bigger than he was.
My favorite memory is how he placed a board across the back of his tiller some how, and he let me sit there while he plowed his garden. I’m sure he would be arrested for child endangerment now. Thank God I had enough sense to hold on. My other favorite memory was how he would take me fishing as evening fell, but only when my brother wasn’t around. Boys were better. That’s just the way that was. We used the net. He would pull the sinker side because it was heavier and I would pull the cork side. When I got tired, he would pull the entire net by himself. One of his best friends told me he was the strongest man he ever knew. He said Dad would reach down, grab the dredge and pull it up by himself. He said he never knew a man who could do that. Only Dad.
Dad’s foot stone was installed a few weeks ago, and we drove down to make sure it was a-okay. It was. I snapped a few pictures and posted them on our family blog so all the long distant relatives could see. It’s not my kind of thing – taking pix in cemeteries – but I guess it was good that they all got to see it.
I’m good with my part in Dad’s last years and my brother’s, too. We gave it our best. It wasn’t always pretty, but it wasn’t half bad.
If I had to assess how things are today with H and myself, I’d say we’re okay. Better than okay.