Something I wrote in January of 2012. We all have those "hard" good-byes...
Just some thoughts:
old pickup truck and a fishing boat?”
This morning as I stood brushing my teeth, my wife looked over at me and said, “I’ve been awake since 5 a.m. I couldn’t sleep.” “What’s the problem?” I asked. “All I could do last night was move furniture around and think about making changes.” My wife is in the process of some household changes: carpet, hardwood floors in some new areas, bathroom changes, updating, painting, etc. “Bet you didn’t sleep much either, did you?” she asked me. “You probably laid there all night jumpin’ around, thinking about your drive today to Alabama and trading for that next Corvette.” Old Corvette, 1962-- guilty, I plead.
Much later that day as I was driving home from Alabama in that Corvette, I was thinking about our morning conversation, and it made me think about my dad. As my dad neared his retirement, all he wanted was “an old pickup truck and a fishing boat.” Sadly, he never got either one. Just a few weeks before he was to retire he got cancer; diagnosed in November and died the last day of January, 1975, at age 64. He never saw retirement and never got his “toys.” That’s really what they are, old cars and home updates, in a sense. They are toys we give ourselves.
I once sat in an audience where Chet Atkins was playing. I could sit all evening, and just listen to him. Before he played his closing song that evening he talked about the song’s meaning and remarked that it was the few biographical songs he has done. He went on to say, “It is one of the most difficult songs for me to do, not because of the playing of it; it’s the thinking about it.” With that he played.
When I was young, my dad would say, come on son, let’s go out and play
Seems like only yesterday, when I was all by myself, I’d climb up the closet shelf
Find his hat and fix the brim, pretending I was him, no matter how hard I tried
No matter how many tears I cried, no matter how many years go by, I still can’t say goodbye
He took good care of mom and me, we all cut down the Christmas tree, and he always had some
time for me
Wind blows through the trees, streetlights, they still shine bright, and most things are still the same, but I miss my dad tonight, I walked by a Salvation Army store, saw a hat my daddy wore
Tried it on and fixed the brim, still trying to be like him, no matter how hard I try
No matter how many tears I cried, no matter how many years go by
I still can’t say goodbye
Chet, I, we understand why the song is hard for you.
It’s been thirty-seven years for me saying goodbye and it still doesn’t get much easier.
January 21, 2012