Even now, beat up as it is, you can see the quality workmanship. A blue cloth exterior and sheepskin style lining. It belonged to my dad, a gift from his best friend who also had one.
It was twenty years ago that I got one of those calls that no one wants to get. This one was to tell me that my father had died, while on an out of state visit to one of my sisters. Though unexpected, it was also a blessing, diabetes had been deteriorating his health for years.
He was many things. For 37 years in Scouting, he excelled at getting people to work together. A bank teller, a gas station attendant, a loading dock worker, but also a self taught student of history; a lifelong fan of the Indians and the Browns who revered Bob Feller and Bill Veeck and Paul Brown. He loved movies, and once he acquired a VCR devoted much of his time to taping all his favorite TV shows and movies, all color coded with reviews from the TV guide attached to the box. He had done the same with his record collection, copying everything to cassettes. He had custom length tapes made, cause he hated long silences at the end.
|Dad and me attending the 1985 Boy Scout Jamboree|
I remember thinking at the time that I was lucky, that I had no real regrets or unfinished business with my dad. I still feel that way,but do have regrets for my children, who never knew their grandfather, particularly my son who is so like him. They would have had so much fun planning his camping trips, or dissecting his baseball games. He would have been especially proud when The Boy joined the staff at the local Scout camp, one of Dad's favorite places on earth.
The last time I saw my dad I took him a gift. I had bought him a print of Cleveland Stadium for his birthday, which was in late May, but decided to take it that April day instead, with the baseball season starting. He was delighted, and my mom told me later that he showed it off to everyone that came to the house for the next week or so. It was one of the few times I have had a true premonition lead me in the right direction.
A year or so ago, I gave the print to my son, feeling it was more suited to his room (which already looks like a Cooperstown road show) than mine, and knowing he would appreciate it--a gift across the generations.
Another thing my mom gave me after his death was the parka. I wore it in the winter for years, till it literally was falling apart. Then I put it up in my closet, where it had stayed till now.
|Me in Dad's coat|
There are things I'm not ready to let go of yet.