Saturday, October 6, 2012

Staying Alive

My brother David called a few days ago to say we buried our father thirty-eight years ago that day. David is a sentimental guy, and he knows I am too. We talked a little about what it might be like if Dad had lived a full life (he would be eighty-eight now), and how we might be different if he had. Then David told me this story:

As close as we're likely to get to the Gates of Paradise
Earlier that day he had taken his new driver to the driving range to hit a bucket of balls. He was terrible. He hit hooks and slices and shanks and worm burners. Not a single good shot. He thought to himself: I can’t quit on this note. I’ve got to get a few more balls. He marched toward the place where you buy balls, but on the way he saw a half bucket of balls that someone had abandoned. So he hit those. And he hit every one perfectly.

So he says to me: “Anniversary of burying Dad. Me hitting terrible shots. A half bucket of balls appearing magically for me to try again. Coincidence? I don’t think so.”

And I don’t think so either. Dad was forever tossing a ball down for us and saying hit another. I can see him now emptying that half bucket of balls out for David and standing back to wait for him to try again. David said he could see it too, and in his version Dad had a little half smile.

I’m not a big believer in ghosts, or anything supernatural, but I believe in the healing magic of memory. I believe that a warm touch from someone we love stays on our skin for the rest of our lives. Are they looking down from heaven or out from within us? Does it matter? The important thing is that they are still there.


  1. what a wonderful piece, and a perfect ending

  2. Very well said! And put in a way I could never verbalize....thank you.