Special Time

by | May 19, 2008 | Family, Love

What an embrace! Dad was holding on tight and stroking my back as we said goodbye. Over the past few years, it seems we both hang on a bit longer each time we part.

The sun was just about to show its face on the horizon, and Dad was ready to head north for Kansas. It had been two years since he’d made the journey from Kansas to Texas by himself. However, with his new knee and a few minor health problems under control; he was back in charge at the age of 88 and darned proud of his independence.


Admittedly, I had pitched a bit of a fit prior to his trip. “Dad, I’ll just have a pow-wow with Jerry and Marland and see what they think about you driving. I’ll let you know what we decide.”

“Well, you guys just pow-wow on! I’ll call when I know what day I’m coming.” That was it. Period! End of conversation. He hung up the phone.

My husband, Jerry, and older brother, Marland, didn’t like the idea much more than I did-but what do you do? Our pow-wow was a pitiful failure. Dad’s driver’s license had just been renewed, and he had a brand new reliable car. Short of hog-tying him, there was nothing to do but wait, wonder, and pray. We lost-Dad won another round.

Dad’s phone call finally came. “I’ll be coming on Wednesday or Thursday. I’m expecting a bill and want to get it paid before I leave.”

“Just let me know which day it is, so I’ll know when to start worrying.” I made it sound light-hearted, but I was dead serious. On the other hand, Dad thought it was hysterical and nearly broke my eardrum.

The highlight of his trip was a few days at The High Lonesome deer lease in Central Texas. He’s hunted all sorts of game in numerous states, but he’d blindsided us announcing he needed to hunt down a wild hog. Again, what do you do? You hustle to make plans, and thank your lucky stars that an aging father is still able to enjoy life and tackle new adventures.

After the excitement of the hunt, I was concerned that the rest of his visit might seem a tad on the tame side-two solid weeks of being stuck in the big city! But, we wrestled a couple of jigsaw puzzles-a great way to stay busy and visit at the same time. And he told wonderful stories of his childhood as we stewed and fought over puzzle pieces; I hung on to each word as if I might never hear them again.

Dad delighted in the discovery of our new Western Channel, and I watched more westerns in two weeks than I had in my entire lifetime. After about a week he remarked, “I’ve seen some old movies I didn’t even know existed, and I thought I’d seen them all. Most of them several times, in fact!” He shook his head at the revelation, and then tuned in for the next one about to air.

We shopped for a new suit, found one, and he looked especially handsome as he modeled it. Driving away from the mall he announced, “This won’t get much wear except to church, and the last time I wear it I won’t ever have to change clothes again.”

It took me a minute to grasp what he was saying. “Oh, Dad! If I’d known we were looking for burial attire I wouldn’t even have even taken you shopping.”

He simply laughed at me, his blue eyes dancing with mischief.

I let some things slide around the house in order to savor every moment of our time together. Evidently Dad noticed! The day I ran a few crucial errands, he cleaned all the tile floors while I was gone. I was humiliated! Within the hour, one of the dogs deposited a piece of dead grass on “his” sparkling floor and he spied it in a flash. “How the heck did I miss that?” He questioned with a frustrated scowl.


All too soon it was time for our visit to end. Dad’s car was packed, hog meat and all, and he was heading home.

“I love you, Dad. I hope you weren’t bored-I don’t feel like we did anything very special while you were here. At least nothing that compared with your hunting trip.”

We were still hugging and neither of us made a move to let go.

Dad squeezed me a little tighter and his voice cracked, “Every single minute we were together was special.” I pulled back slightly to see tears in his eyes and his chin quivering. It’s a sight seldom seen from a man that still envisions himself as John Wayne.

“You’re right. Nothing is more special than our time together.” I was batting back tears hoping he wouldn’t spot them. Feeling the need to lighten things up, I jokingly said, “You call as soon as you get home so I’ll know when I can stop worrying!”

“Yeah, yeah! You need to quit all that worrying-don’t you know it’ll make an old woman out of you.”

With that he climbed in the car, waved, and drove away just as the sun made a spectacular appearance. It made for a perfect, sunny finale to our “special time” together…

©2006 Kathleene S. Baker Lnstrlady@aol.com


Special Time