As my dad held the spinach artichoke lavash up to his mouth last Sunday, he might as well have been eating one of his farmer boots after a slosh through the cattle lot. A meat and potatoes guy, he was hesitant to try the meatless entree I’d ordered for our father’s day lunch.
To his credit, he did take one little bite.
As I look at my own husband with our daughter, I think she’s got bonus points for life as she has a dad who loves her well–like mine did. Dad’s always been a simple man, yet somehow far from simple. Here are three branches of memory offered in honor of father’s day.
It’s the week of high school state track. My uniform’s packed. As I race to meet the van, I slow my tires and stop to read the black spray paint on cardboard signs that dot the driveway held up with electric fence posts. . . Go Evi. . .Take state . . . they cheer in dad’s best crummy penmanship. I gas the car onward with new confidence, once more checking to ensure I’ve packed my spikes. It’s not until I reach the highway that I realize he could have posted the signs here, for everyone to see, but his signs were for a certain pair of high school eyes, now welling with tears.
After shooing the flower girl down the aisle, I’m all spun up, not really nervous about the man at the end of the aisle as much as I am about the stare-filled aisle that I have to traverse to get to him. As the personal attendant gives us the nod, I step forward with a white shoe peeking out from under satin. The firm elbow linked with mine holds back. I stop, sensing dad’s slower approach. He pauses, then looks me up, down, and square in the eyes. . . smiling. “Perfect,” he says, and we step out toward the aisle together.
Growing up, our couch was a shiny fake leather. I recline on the re-upholstered blue with tiny tan stripes, back home on a college summer day. I hear the screen door slam; Dad’s in from the field. He settles into his worn chair that’s covered in the same blue, his normal cup of coffee in hand. He grabs a book and flips pages to the devotion he just has to share with his English-major, youngest daughter. I lean in as he reads of Jesus and His inspiration of artists. In bullet points, dad reads of how Christ’s sacrifice moved these greats to their greatest. I’ve seen him cry only a handful of times, but the power that moved these artists grips him. He hands the book over so I can push through words that were sticking like tears in his throat. It’s my favorite memory with him: the two of us sitting silent on old blue furniture, both choked up by our savior.