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Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

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A Brief Father’s Day Visit From My Dad

My siblings and I only need to remember one weekend each year when it comes to celebrating my Dad. His birthday almost always falls within a day or two of Father’s Day. So it was that I found myself in Rhode Island the past couple of days, in the company of my Mom and a guy masquerading as my Dad, a guy who was very curious about the new fella who’d dropped by for a visit.

Getting old is not for sissies, my friends.

Somewhere inside, deep inside, there’s still some of my Dad in the jumbled up connections of his mind, carried by the body that failed him in such spectacular fashion 2 ½ years ago. Dad is extremely intelligent, the only family member in his generation to have gone to college. Quite the athlete, he used football and the GI Bill to pay for school. Like so many in his generation he then worked, raised a family, and put himself through grad school. He won his club championship in golf twice at the ages of 50 and 60. No typo. Beat the reigning RI State Amateur champ on his home course for the first one.

As we sat on the porch of his house overlooking the par 5  14th hole, I had an ever so brief visit from that guy. From my Dad. Like a citizen of Brigadoon he came slowly through the mist of his mind to join me for a bit. We’d always bonded over golf. My brother and I never turned down an invitation to join him on the course, either as partners or as caddies for him and his buddies. It was quite a privilege to do either; my Dad’s most elemental essence was expressed on the golf course.

A light breeze was blowing through the forest in the back yard just beyond the rough. We chuckled at the golfers who failed to take the wind into consideration, sheepishly trying to sneak into our yard to retrieve their out-of-bounds second shot. Dad talked about caddying as a kid in the Depression. We both noted the absence of caddies as the foursomes passed in and out of view. It was really very nice.

I quite like the Dad of my adulthood. Quick to smile, slow to anger, unfailingly loyal and kind. It’s hard to imagine now how distant he was when I was a boy, his friendship as an adult is so easy. I’m not sure how long we sat there to be honest, nor when I noticed that he was slipping away. As surely as the village of Brigadoon disappears, the mist had returned to claim him. I got up, walked over to his chair, held his hand and gave him a kiss. I wished him a Happy Birthday and a Happy Father’s Day, hoping that I’d made it on time. That he was still there. That he knew it was me, Darrell, his oldest child. I told him I loved him.

He smiled and gave my hand a little pat as he disappeared into the mist.

 

 

 

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4 Responses to “A Brief Father’s Day Visit From My Dad”

  1. June 23rd, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    Maureen aka Mo says:

    Wow … this description of your time with your Dad brought me to my own Dunn titled “teary Leary” moment for me, Darrell. You always had a gift with prose, your connections with your family, past and present, and your talent at putting it all together for others to enjoy.

    I, too, remember how my Dad mellowed over the years after retiring. It wasn’t until he became terminally ill, that we lost him very, very quickly, as you know. With fond memories of the White family from Gama, your Dad, “Anna Babes”, Randy, Tracey and somewhat Kirsten, your family remains in my memories of a fun addition to the neighborhood.

    Perhaps I’ll stop over for a visit soon. I think your parents would enjoy that. I know I would. It’s been a long time comin.

  2. June 23rd, 2015 at 8:12 pm

    drwhite says:

    Thanks Maureen! You may wish to call Anne Lee to make sure Dad is having an OK day before you visit.

  3. June 17th, 2018 at 9:50 pm

    BEAR '81 Williams College says:

    Beautifully written Doc. I think you’d give T. Layds a run for his money. My Dad is 85 and succumbed to the mist 15 years ago and hasn’t been back. The memories I cherish the most are of him standing on the sidelines at Lax games at both home and away games (Yale.UMass/Amherst/Weslyan/C.W. Post etc) which as you know were much more intimate than FB. The hushed comments he made as I purposely walked close enough to hear I pass on to my Son to this day. Happy Father’s day my friend.

  4. June 18th, 2018 at 12:23 pm

    drwhite says:

    Thanks Bear. You are too kind. I’m just a hack with a keyboard when it comes to TLayds comparisons. I miss my Dad every day. Hope your Father’s Day was a blast.

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