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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Letter to My Dad

Background design by Nicole Young

This collage features me . . . aka BeNotForgot . . . and my Dad, Forrest Lee Pounders (1927-1996) . . . the photo in the upper right shows my Dad placing a lucky penny in my shoe on my wedding day in 1975 . . . my Mom made my blue velvet gown . . . at my request, my Dad wore the same navy blue suit he wore the day her married my Mom . . . and he then wore it one more time . . . for his final Homegoing on the day of his memorial service in January of 1996 . . . a few years after his death from kidney cancer, I sat down and wrote a letter to my Dad . . . I am sharing it with the blogosphere today . . . for Father's Day . . .

Hey Dad -- Hard to believe it's actually been five years since that last summer with all of us together.

I traveled back to our hometown for my class reunion this past weekend (2000). That reminded me of the weekend of our 1995 class reunion -- a weekend I chose to spend with family instead of former classmates. That turned out to be your last weekend of actually feeling anything like your old self -- for you started those experimental cancer treatments the following Monday. And life was never to be the same again.

That was also the weekend of Rick and Cathy's wedding -- you were to be his best man, but didn't feel up to it. We, your children, attended the wedding as your representatives.

But the best part of that weekend was sitting out in the backyard at the home you shared with Momma for 45 years -- the home we four children grew up in -- the backyard full of so many happy memories. We had the best "private playground" of any of our classmates, thanks to you and Uncle Billy -- a merry-go-round, a seesaw, and a swingset set in concrete so that we could swing high enough to touch the leaves of the shade trees as we aimed for the sky. And the dog trough where we always dumped the tadpoles from Ham Branch, and soon had little baby frogs hopping all over the place.

Nearby were the various garden spots with that wonderful Central Texas sand where you and your Mother grew those wonderful vegies (sure would like some of yall's fresh new potatoes and fresh tomatoes right now!) -- and where we delighted in chasing and catching baby horned toads when we were kids. Remember how we filled our little red wagons with sand and made homes for those baby horned toads? And made beds for them in match boxes?

And then there were the doodlebugs? Funny how that became such a sweet term of endearment in your later years. Guess you started it by calling Jacob "Doodlebug," which he in turn decided to call you. He still (at age ten now) talks about his "Doodlebug." [Did you know they are actually the larva of a winged creature similar to a dragonfly? I didn't!]

As I'm prone to do, I brought in boxes full of scrapbooks and family photo albums, and all of us -- you and Mom, your Mother, your kids and grandkids -- we all sat around the backyard leafing through the pages of memories of our lives together. There was laughter and there were tears, as we all -- somewhere deep inside -- realized that this was a day to burn into our memories, for the odds were against our ever getting to do it again in just that way.

I treasure the photos I took that day -- the central Texas sunlight filtering through the leaves of the trees that had stood guard duty over our little family for almost half-of-a-century. Those were the final photos of you really laughing and feeling good. We had ice-cold watermelon, one of the few things you kept an appetite for as your health declined. Many of your lifelong friends kept us supplied throughout that summer.

Anyway -- I could go on and on -- you know how I am!!! But I'll close for now -- just wanted to jot down a few thoughts. Luv you and miss you, Dad . . . see ya next time . . . your "eldest" daughter . . .


Caroline said...

What a beautiful letter to your dad! It's comforting to know that they [our dads] are just a letter away, isn't it? I guess turnabout's fair play because now I have tears in my eyes. You have such wonderful memories of your dad...thanks for sharing with us!


Luckie said...

BNF - Absolutely beautiful letter to your Dad... I am speechless.

Thank you for sharing it with us.


BeNotForgot said...

Caroline -- reading your post about your Dad sent me looking for that letter I had written. I get all weepy myself just recalling the feelings we had that summer of 1995. I'm glad I wrote it down back then. Hugs to you . . .

Luckie -- glad you stopped by to meet my Dad. When I go "home" to Rockdale, I frequently hear stories about Dad helping someone. He was special . . .

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