1.11.2022 – miss me a little

miss me a little
but not for long and not with
your head bowed low

Adapted from the poem, “Let Me Go” –

by Christina Rossetti (5 December 1830 – 29 December 1894).

Here is an excerpt.

When I come to the end of the road
And the sun has set for me
I want no rites in a gloom filled room
Why cry for a soul set free?

Miss me a little, but not for long
And not with your head bowed low
Remember the love that once we shared
Miss me, but let me go.

For this is a journey we all must take
And each must go alone.
It’s all part of the master plan
A step on the road to home.

When you are lonely and sick at heart
Go to the friends we know.
Laugh at all the things we used to do
Miss me, but let me go.

Lots of things, on this anniversary of my Dad’s death back in 1988, come to mind from this poem.

I think my Dad would have wanted to be missed, for little while, but not with a head bowed low.

There was too much fun in our lives to hang my head.

1967? Me and my Dad on VACATION – well, that is how he dressed on vacation

We had a place out on Lake Michigan and every spring we would go out to repair any winter storm caused damage.

Usually this involved the whole crew of my brothers and brothers-in-law and a lot of building and digging.

One spring when I was back from college, my Dad took me and drove off to the lake with a plan to pick up a load of lumber that we would need later when everyone else could get out there.

We got the lumber at Lappo’s in Spring Lake, Michigan and drove to our place where I unloaded it.

I had a little more muscle I guess in those days.

As I unloaded my Dad looked over the deck we had built on the edge of the sand dune overlooking the lake.

It leaned back in one corner and had a couple of loose boards but otherwise was in good shape.

With the lumber unloaded Dad told me to “go get a bucket.”

Which meant one of the buckets we used at the beach for a tool box.

I knew he wanted a bucket with hammers, nails and a level.

We always used a level when working on decks or steps more so we could always say, “We used a level” no matter how the project turned out.

We also always used Grip-Tite nails, that ones that made noise when you hammered them in, ping ping ping, rising in pitch with each hammer blow.

I set the bucket down and took my jacket off and laid it on the deck.

It was warm in the sun.

When I brought out the hammers and nails, Dad positioned himself against the low corner of the deck with the level on the deck and he lifted the corner of the deck until he could see that he had it level.

“Put a nail in here,” he said, indicating a place where the deck brace lined up with the deck post.

And I did.

Never did something I had learned in 7th grade shop class or any class feel so good.

Dad pointed about 4 inches away from the first spot and said, “And here.”

And I did.

It went right in, straight.

ping – Ping – PING.

“Put another one in,” he said.

After about 5 nails, he got up on the deck and bounced a few times.

“Good,” he said.

Then he pointed to the loose deck boards.

“Pound some nails in there.” he pointed.

And I did.

“Good!” he said.

He walked back and forth on the deck, testing it, trying to make it sway.

Satisfied, Dad sat down on the bench that was built into the back of the deck.

I picked up my jacket and pulled two cigars out the inner pocket along with a small cigar cutter and some matches.

Dad looked at me and before I could ask, he held out his hand for a cigar.

He stripped off the wrapper and held out his hand for my cigar cutter and when the cigar was ready, he turned towards me.

He leaned over and I held a match out cupped in my hands.

Once Dad had his cigar properly lit he sat back on the bench.

I sat next to him in the spring sunshine, warmed by the sun, but cooled by the breeze off the lake.

Two guys and two cigars with troubles, like the cigar smoke, drifting away.

Dad took a few puffs, then gestured at the repaired deck with his cigar.

“We do good work!” he said.

And we sat and smoked.

It was kind of solemn, sitting by the big still lake.

We did not feel like talking loud.

And it seemed like nothing happened to us at all.

Yes, I stole that from Huckleberry Finn.

So what?

I will miss my Dad a little.

I will miss my Dad a lot.

But with my head bowed?

Nope.

Never.

No way.

That wouldn’t be right.

We had too much fun.

We had too much.

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