I miss my father.
Not the last, lingering days when the ravages of Parkinson’s stripped his body of strength and dignity,
not the growing quiet and dimming light, the betrayal of senses with the ambush of age and degeneration,
not the loss of skill and purpose with increasing dependence.
I miss the stories, the laughter, the dropping of the false teeth to scare innocent children.
I miss the sawing afternoon naps in the recliner, the dirt between the fingernails, and the smelly old farm boots.
I miss him, dusty and weary, still willing to amaze his children at day’s end by playing a bit of softball in the failing light—and hitting that ball to kingdom come.
I miss stealing sips of his instant coffee and codependent sampling of forbidden pies.
It’s the wisdom, I miss most. The forgiveness and acceptance, the knowing that in my stupidest moments, he was still…
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