I miss hearing him whistle. I don’t remember ever hearing him sing, but I heard him whistle just about every single day. To me, it was as sweet and lovely as any birdsong.
I miss his hands. Big, strong, hardworking hands that could fix anything, yet were soft and elegant and neatly manicured.
I miss how he used to point at the three of us when we hadn’t been his little darlings. His ring finger and thumb would form a circle while each of the other fingers aimed straight for the heart of an errant little girl.
I miss how handsome he looked in baby blue.
I miss how he combed his hair. Not his hairstyle, but how he combed his hair.
I miss how he called his truck, his “cruck.”
I miss seeing him drive; how he leaned into the door, left elbow hanging out of the window. His right arm extended loosely up and over the steering wheel which supported his wrist while his fingers hung between it and the dashboard.
I miss how he used to run “up the street” or “around the block” and come home later with three tiny little brown paper bags filled with bubble gum and brightly wrapped candies sure to make the three of us very happy and the dentist very rich.
I miss answering the phone and hearing him say, “Hey, Bebbo…” or, “Hey, Bebby.”
I miss hearing him call my daughter “Anniebelle.” I wish he could know her now.
I miss hearing him say, “be sweet,” because I knew that really meant “I love you.” For some reason, those words came hard to him, but I didn’t need them. I knew I was loved and loved well.
I miss playing cards with him and hearing him holler with laughter when he “whupped the pants off” of us again and again. And again!
I miss his version of Br’er Rabbit and the Tarbaby. Nobody did sound effects like he did.
I miss calling out to him and hearing his cheerful, clipped, “wut?” in reply.
I miss getting birthday cards signed “Pop” in his tiny, neat handwriting.
I miss how he loved America and John Wayne and Foghorn Leghorn.
I miss how he loved squirrels; how he’d sit on his deck for hours and feed them peanuts, trying to make friends with them. I don’t think he would like it if he knew that she hated them now.
I miss his quietness; how he didn’t need to fill silent spaces with chatter. When he did speak, it was worth listening to.
I miss everything about him. I know that he wasn’t a perfect man, but I loved him with all of my heart and longed to chase his demons away. I wanted to know what caused that quiet sadness that was a part of him and somehow make it all better. Some days, the loss is bearable; no more than a vague, dull ache way in the back of my heart, barely noticeable over the happy clatter of my life. But some times, like this weekend, it’s loud and sharp and raw and it hurts and I would do almost anything to have just one more hour with him, to hug him and tell him I love him. I miss him.
For the last two days, I’ve ridden around town in a little blue truck with the other man in my life. As we’ve gathered plywood and 2x4’s and screws and paint and all the things to set our girl up in housekeeping, I’ve had a chance to think about just how much he’s like my daddy. He has the same values and morals and politics. He, too, has strong, hardworking hands that can fix anything. He doesn’t whistle, but he sings like an angel. He’s a quiet man who loves America and John Wayne and Foghorn Leghorn. And me. He chases my demons away and makes it all better. I am blessed to have found him and will celebrate that every single day for the rest of my life.
chatting at the sky