A new journey revisited

Bird Droppings June 21, 2010
A new journey revisited

Nearly three years ago and a week my father passed away. It was in May of that same year my wife’s father passed away and that entire summer was much of a blur. I spent the better part of this year’s father’s day driving to and from Colombia South Carolina going to a reptile show with my oldest son. Seem I have been driving much of the past week putting many miles on the car as I go up and down the interstates. Yesterday I read on the trip over a dissertation which all in all was not a bad read. I made it nearly half way on the journey to Colombia and along the way several times I thought back those three years to my father.
I had dropped off some medicine that afternoon at my parent’s home and spoke with my mother for a few minutes. Two of my nieces were there with my dad standing by his bed as I went in. He lay still not moving as my mother said he has been like this now for some time. It was hard leaving and going to my next stop of the day. A feeling of apprehension I seemed to carry with me. But there were other stops other pieces to that day’s journey.
I drove down to Oxford Georgia as I left my parents home to watch the talent show of my youngest son’s choir camp. My wife was tired from a hard day at work and she had to make several calls and wanted to watch a show she had missed previously. I stopped and picked up a water bottle for the journey, I used to only drink Evian. Fortunately that is about my only idiosyncrasies although I have changed allegiances and now drink Smart water.
As I headed from the county just before dusk a tall stark dead tree was standing to my left as I drove by. It was completely free from bark and nearly white in the waning hours of the day. Atop the tree in the highest possible point sat two red tailed hawks, watching me as I drove by. I thought of all times not having my camera, what a picture, this could be one for National Geographic. But as instantly as the image presented itself it was gone in that the speed of the car driving took me past rather quickly and time was getting late I had to reach my destination.
I arrived just before they started and for many years now I have always enjoyed the Emory at Oxford campus of Emory University. Being a plant fancier the grounds date back to early 1800’s and exotic trees and shrubs abound. This was the choir camp talent show night which has always been fun. I listened to a talented group of young people my son included as he did his rendition of Axel Rose and Bob Dylan singing a duet on the famous tune “Knocking on Heavens Door”. My son does a duet by himself with a back up guitar player. The song stuck with me as I drove away after the program. Bob Dylan wrote the song many years ago with it then featured in the movie Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett in 1973.

Mama take this badge from me
I can’t use it anymore
It’s getting dark too dark to see
Feels like I’m knockin’ on heaven’s door

Knock-knock-knockin’ on heaven’s door
Knock-knock-knockin’ on heaven’s door
Knock-knock-knockin’ on heaven’s door
Knock-knock-knockin’ on heaven’s door

I came home and sat talking and watching TV with my oldest son. They tend to stay up longer than me most nights. I told him how his brother played his duet again. It is sort of hard to explain as he comes out as Axel Rose of Guns and Roses fame and Bob Dylan at the same time. But the words hung with me as I continued my journey in to night, falling asleep. Around two in the morning I had a one dog night and funny it was because he was hungry. There is nothing like a dog chewing dry dog food at two in the morning.
I got up with my wife fully intending to get started on graduate school work I needed to be working on and walked around turning out lights finding my chair in the dark I thought my oldest son has work this morning I will awake when he walks by. I had several vivid dreams over the next two hours waking up as my son came by. I emailed a friend that knew my sons and had been a member of the Choir Camp for many years till graduating from high school and heading to college. I for some reason went and picked up my phone all I heard was “he is gone”.
I thought I responded and talked a few minutes and called my oldest and wife to let them know my dad had passed away. I walked into my middle son’s room and told him. This was around eight o’clock. I walked out to my quiet spot among some young pecan trees and thought pondered for a few minutes. I enjoy the smell of sage and sweet grass as the wisps of smoke rise in a morning air. Life is a circle I thought looking at some stones I had previously placed on the ground.
I told my son I was heading to town to get mail and such and drove off. Around ten thirty my mother called and asked if I got the message she left. I said no I talked to you earlier you said dad had passed away. She informed me she did not talk to me. I told her I would be over shortly and was fine.
It is strange how we respond as we consider all events all happenings and see that truly life is a circle a simple circle. No beginning and no end as we journey. We get to participate along the way interconnect and meet people. We gain understanding and wisdom as we travel this circle and for some most I would say the transitional points are painful and yet for others wondrous moments and new journeys. My father had told me numerous times he had done what he needed to do here and was ready. He passed away in his sleep content that he had been a great father, grandfather and great grandfather. There are many who knew him over the years from Scouting, Church, Red Cross, Safety and Loss Control, and his dear friends. Each has stories to tell of pieces of my fathers puzzle.
“Knocking on heavens door” keeps resounding as I recall my sons singing last night and so many years ago as another son left me a note after sitting all night with a teenager who had been in a car wreck “Life is about the journey not the destination”, a line from Steven Tyler of Aerosmith. I thought back three years to those few weeks with my father in law passing and a student who spent a lot of time in my room and then my dad. I mentioned to my wife last evening that wisdom comes with experience and time. There is a new journey a new day I wish my father well on his journey. Peace my father and friend and a happy late fathers day.

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