Today marks the tenth anniversary of my dad’s passing. I can still see him so clearly; it seems impossible a decade has passed. I’m reminded of his impact in large and small ways. Career decisions. Problem solving strategies. Likes and dislikes. Phobias and passions. Familiar characteristics reveal like trail markers around the bend as Dad’s sense of humor, abilities, and attributes present in grandchildren and great-grands alike. I am glad the generations continue to bear witness to my dad.
This morning I came across the video I made after dad’s memorial service. I slipped it into the DVD drive and slid back in time to a tiny Adirondack church packed tight with family and friends. The service was a rich and meaningful celebration of his life. My favorite part was when his grandchildren performed a heartfelt rendition of I’ll Fly Away, their voices raised on the wings of the hope he’d professed. I smiled, cherishing the distinct sounds of my children’s voices in the beautiful chorus.
Many attendees had shared fond and often funny memories of my dad. My heart was warmed all over again. I dialed in especially closely to my three sisters’ reflections. It was almost as if I’d never heard them. Each was unique and yet perfectly aligned with my own, like four fingers on a glove.
I’d mentioned in my own remarks that among my fondest childhood memories is how dad taught us to drive — anything. Dirt bikes, go-carts, snowmobiles, ATVs, even horses, eventually cars. You name it, we rode it and drove it. It didn’t matter that we were girls. I discovered many photos of dad’s motorbikes over the years, often with one of my sisters perched on or near. Dad was always so proud of his wheels!
Somehow I’d missed entry in dad’s motorbike hall of fame? C’est la vie. But today I found a tattered photo tucked into an old envelope. My mom’s handwriting was scrawled across the reverse, “I guess I pushed motorcycles early on but you were so cute on one.” There you have it: I am my father’s child.
Some months before he died, my dad requested that I visit. He said he had something to give me. I was surprised to learn it was his small motorbike. I hadn’t ridden in many years. Let’s just say I didn’t fare well despite his coaching. I’d lost the knack and my edge. The bike was temperamental. I had neither talent nor interest in keeping it running smoothly. Passing it along in the family a few years later seemed the right thing to do. No regrets. The memory of the gifting sustains me.