Tuesday, February 11, 2014

On Value

The card  from Dad arrived in the mail today, a note from Big Bro on the back. The card within will be one of Dad's famous "action cards" that either spring out some cartoon form or make some noise like last years. . Police Siren  "PUT THE CANDY DOWN!"

What was  scrawled across the back of the envelope in Big Bro's handwriting, but still him, with his little signature "Bull" face (his nickname), is "Still up at 7:30 every day after chasing Rommel across AFRICA!  What a Hero, WWII Vet.  OUR Dad!!

These cards, these notes. It's a ritual that's gone on 50 years.  It is one I will so miss, for it offers that steady comfort of routine that has become, with time, the liturgy of our lives.
What is it about certain things, perhaps certain people, that make you realize what's important, that make you feel safe?

Is it the abiding strength?  That which radiates from within, a calm and unflinching repose when problems arise? Is it that which cloaks itself with outward trappings and values that have withstood generations, that bone deep integrity that makes you feel at peace in the company thereof?
Is it wisdom?  Not just that wisdom based on years, that time when youth and wanting are said to be behind you, even as that final breath is drawn in with the want of another, but that which comes with knowing what you stand for, then owning it. 

Is it commitment?  That pinky promise/blood oath of childhood in the guise of an adult, that bond, that betrothal that is worthy of the word by its history. It's not summoned or bartered or held hostage.  It's there, like flowers that bloom each year, their scent spread with the rain, so when the heavens open up to flood your world, their presence is upon you, like warm, steady breath.
Is it a look? One that has weight to it, a look that has such depth that you feel you could hold it in your hand? Is it a form? One that stays strong, even when tested, the little nicks and scuffs, simply the marks of battles fought and overcome. It's all that and more. It's the promise of dependability, sublime yet infinite, that carries you in its company from the evocable past to the continuing present.

Is it a name?  Father, brother, husband, wife, daughter, son.  If you are blessed, it is a name that you can see take shape, one that you can say until the name solidifies into something tangible, a form you can hold on to, remaining even after the air goes silent and the form is nothing but an empty doorway, framed in the fading light of Glory.

If you're lucky you will have that. If you lose it, mourn its passing. If you find it, never let it go.

- Brigid

13 comments:

  1. It's posts like this that keep me coming every day to read. Thank You. You carried me back to memories of men and women in my family and those of close friends 2 and 3 generations back. I too have been blessed immeasurably.

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  2. Yeah, all those things. That's why I value your friendship. You say it well, but you walk the walk. I guess that's the "integrity" bit you were writing about.

    Will call to catch up.

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  3. Thank you for a lovely post, Brigid. I'm glad big Bro can be there with your Dad.

    And those flowers....I like their appearance...Duct tape, isn't it? That's a bouquet I would have fun with.

    Ramp should arrive some time tomorrow for Mr Barkley.

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  4. Are those the infamous duct tape flowers? Still looking unwilted !

    Very moment is precious, everyone we spend it with is too. It's nice to have those little things like cards and phone calls to smile about. Great post.

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  5. JNU Dave - may your blessings continue.

    Borepatch - your friendship, as always is valuable to me.

    Monkeygrangler - thanks, they can offer each other support, both trying to outlive the other, and fussing like two old married people but in a very humorous way. The nurse comes in as needed.

    naturegirl - they are indeed. :-)

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  6. Beautifully said, thank you for sharing that with us.

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  7. You are surrounded by special men and love, what more could a gal want!

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  8. They have all those qualities; you do as well!
    Continue to take good care!

    gfa

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  9. It's all those things, and more. We tend to take continuity for granted, until life (and death) rip it away. Thank you for such a poignant reminder that we mustn't let those dear to us languish in the background; they're the reason we're who we are.

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  10. Ah, Brigid, you always give us something to think about. I should have some of the kids in my Troop read this.

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  11. Love the restored Farmall ! Is that an "H" ? We have two Farmalls from the forties and they both still work and have downward torque.
    Love to you, your husband and of course, Mr. Barkley,

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  12. Old NFO - I wish you could meet my Dad. Our mutual friend Brighid (the other B) has. He's one of a kind.

    Brighid - speaking of which. I know how lucky I am.

    Rev Paul - I occasionally get "you haven't had a vacation in 20 years" (the Ireland trip was a speaking engagement overseas with a side trip over a weekend). I've snuck in a few weekend deer hunts, but no. My leave (and some stints without pay under the Family Leave Act) has all been making sure my parents are cared for. They supported me, unconditionally, my whole life, even when my path wasn't what they would have picked for me, it's the least I can do.

    Jane - I'm not sure. That was taken at the Tri State Tractor and Steam show in Indiana in 2011 I believe. That's a great show, one we try and go to every year(though we missed this year due to concurrent overseas trips).

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  13. I confess to being an emotional pack rat. I keep stuff that means something to me...even if it's what someone else would label as "trash."

    I kept every letter I got from certain friends. I kept almost everything I ever got in the mail from my dad. Sometimes, the contents of the envelope in my college mailbox were pointless (boring mail forwarded from home). Odds were, I kept the envelope anyway. Because by that Statue of Liberty stamp, Dad had scrawled ♫ Raise your hand if you're sure! ♪ Or, by the Elvis stamp, Thaggyoo very musch! Or he'd scrawl his name in Spanish in the return address, just for fun.

    These days, most of our communication is of the electronic variety. But I have over a thousand texts from him on my phone (that I've had less than a year), some of them just because he saw a silly road/river/business/town name, and had to share it with me. Last week, he went out on a toll road again so that he could catch a picture of the river name that was so long that he didn't have time to read the whole thing the first time, when he went flying down the highway at 70 mph.

    These are memories I will forever cherish.

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