By "Laney Girl" - Noelle
My Dad smells like recycled airplane air and jet fuel after a cross-pacific flight.
My Dad is laying on the ground, under a car, in his bleached out coveralls, covered in oil and grease.
My Dad is sitting at the computer, playing Columns, with the cat on his lap.
My Dad is waving his finger along to a hymn, or some southern twang, smiling.
My Dad is driving us to get an ice cream cone in the ‘54 Ford. Or the red 57 T-Bird, with the top down. Or the 1970 station wagon.
My Dad is trolling the boat over to where the good fish are.
He is holding a child on his lap, letting them drive the boat. Or steer the tractor. Or assist in flying the plane.
My Dad is teaching us to drive. Stick shifts.
My Dad is sitting in the front row at the tennis match. Or band concert.
My Dad is teaching kids basic computer skills.
My Dad is serving food to the homeless.
My Dad is checking our oil. And changing our tires. He’s helping us move. And fixing things around our homes.
He is holding his children in his lap. He’s holding us on his shoulders.
He’s doing taxes. Or paying bills. He’s reconciling the tithes at Church.
He’s fixing one of our Sudanese brothers’ cars.
My Dad is driving. Cross country. With kids in the back seat.
My Dad is boating. On the lake. Pulling kids on water skis.
My Dad is reading the paper. Dwelling on the comics. And laughing at Garfield.
He is beating us all at a game of Hearts, while sitting in a motel or a truckstop diner.
My Dad is gentle. And strong.
My Dad is snacking on Pecans, shipped from Indianola.
He’s eating black eyes peas. And corn bread. And drinking a Coke.
My Dad is walking. He’s walking tall, and quickly, for miles and miles.
He’s talking to one of his siblings on the phone, and talking with his hands, even though no one can see him.
He’s calling one of our pets a flea bag. Right before he lets them nestle on his lap.
My Dad is flying.
He’s flying in Japan.
He’s flying in Alaska.
He’s crossing the Pacific.
He’s teaching us to fly.
He’s teaching missionaries to fly.
He’s a passenger on one of the jets his sons is flying.
He’s a passenger on the Space Needle elevator, while my sister shares stories.
My Dad is telling us a story. It’s about a fish. Or a plane. Or a car. Or…
There wasn’t always a punch line. But my Dad never needed a punch line.
My Dad wears fresh white Hane’s t-shirts, under a well-worn favorite sweatshirt.
My Dad blows his nose in pressed handkerchiefs.
My Dad doesn’t get his hair cut, he gets his ears lowered.
He compliments the waitresses, telling them they’re good cooks. I tell him they didn’t cook the food.
My Dad laughs.
The doctors tell us My Dad is never going to walk, talk or eat again.
My Dad is walking, talking and eating after that.
My Dad is blowing out the candles on his 80th. 81st. 82nd. 83rd. Birthdays.
My Dad meets his great grandson. And his 2nd granddaughter. And the love of my life.
My Dad is stubborn. My Dad is determined.
My Dad is praying.
My Dad is reading the Word of God.
My Dad is communing.
My Dad is loving.
My Dad is full of gratitude. And hope. And love.
My Dad is at peace.
My Dad is smiling.
My Dad is home.