This is the original essay which was my tribute for Father’s Day a few years ago. I condensed it for an assignment last week. Please enjoy this version too.
“I love the summer rain!” I shouted in my head because there was no one around to hear my declaration and ‘cause no one really cared. “Why?” I asked myself; I knew the answer from the minute I felt the first heavy drops. It was because of him. And because of him, I stood there for a moment in the pouring rain. Just a moment, long enough for my jeans to get soaked and my tee shirt drenched and long enough to conjure up the video I wanted to play in my mind.
He must have been about the age I am now that day. Mid-fifties, receding gray hair, twinkling eyes, round face with half a crooked smile and a round belly to match. He wore shorts, his thin shirt unbuttoned halfway, and he’d already lost his shoes on the porch as he ran out to catch the rain. In all the excitement, he skipped and twirled tempting my girls to join him. Lovey had already shed her sandals and was waiting for the “go ahead.” I realized it was contagious as I liberated Annie from her orthopedics. Soon they were all laughing and skipping and twirling, wet through and through in the tropical rain. My mother and I just smiled from the sidelines, more concerned with what
the neighbors in the subdivision were thinking behind their blinds.
They called him “El Sapo” – “The Frog.” They say as a kid he would love to cool down by laying on the floor, with his legs in a diamond shape like a frog. He loved the water, he loved the rain, and he loved us. In the good times and the bad, of that, we could be sure.
I wished him here today. I wanted to be that little girl and dance in the rain and to have him hold me tight like he did the day Eddie died, and he had no words to console me or like the day I held him at my mom’s wake. For the night that he died that I didn’t; but rather blew him a kiss because I had the flu and didn’t want to share it with him.
As I think of him now, I know he wasn’t perfect, but I am grateful for all he was and all he left behind including that little bit of him in me.