June 15, 2013 3:46:25 PM
Rummy." I hear that word today like it was yesterday, as my older brother Tony and I sat for hours playing Daddy's favorite card game. Of course, Daddy always won. I think he must have had a card or two up his sleeve. He always had so much patience with his blond-headed boys as we all played the hands we were dealt on that yellow Formica bar of my childhood, with Mama nearby.
As I remember all the Father's Days I have had with my daddy, all 75 of them, this will be the first without his true love. A grownup me sits at the same kitchen bar with the very same yellow Formica, worn with age. The sound of laughter has faded. Birthday cakes have come and gone with the years as my whole family gathered 'round my daddy's "spot" at the end of the bar. The trim around the edges has a bit of wear and tear, and what clutters it now is an old ashtray, notebooks where Daddy scribbles figures, and the week's mail.
Many moons ago when I was just tall enough to see the bar by standing on my tiptoes, my daddy sat in this same spot -- younger, less worn and with less sadness in his eyes. There was always an ashtray, notebooks with scribbles of figures, and the week's mail, but when Mama was here, there was also a freshly baked peach cobbler and our deck of cards.
Father's Day means different things to different people. For most of my life, it simply meant that holiday not too far off from Mother's Day, when I presented Daddy with socks, underwear or maybe a gadget or two in pretty wrapping with a card. One year I gave him a giant revolving globe of the world as a gesture because he means the world to me.
I remember as a child taking naps with just Daddy and my giant blue bunny, stretching my arms out as far as they would reach saying, "I love you this much," and learning how to drive in the pasture behind the wheel of a blue and white Chevrolet truck. Daddy always said, "Keep it between the barn and the pond." My favorite memory is sitting on his knee in that little country chapel while Bobbie Jean sang "I'll Fly Away."
This year I can't give my daddy the very thing he wants most in this world because she's in heaven, but I'm going to take time to sit at that bar beside him, probably with the rest of my family. We will watch him open gifts like a kid, ripping the bows away hurriedly to get to the prize inside. I reckon it will be more socks, underwear, or maybe a fresh new stack of cards to play the hand we've been dealt because life goes on.
Former Columbus resident David Creel owns Beautiful With David salon in Jackson and has 20 years experience in the beauty industry. Contact him at [email protected]