Monday, May 26, 2014

The Chopper from Nam

It is not just today that I remember you,
or your stories of getting on "the chopper" for a brief reprieve from the war to come see me right after my birth.
And there were times I wished you would have died there. That would have made a better story than a man who found the bottle more important than me.
There were times I wished you away, and hoped you would be replaced by the kind of father that I always dreamed of.
I got my wish, but then I lost him too.
I think of your stories of Nam. The ones you told me with tears in your eyes, and the ones you said you could never talk about...only then were you a man of few words, except how much you hated rice and what "dinky-dow" meant and how scared you were.
I remember laying my head in your lap. You smelled of grease and cigarettes and liquor. You told me I was daddy's little girl and that I'd always be just that. And I loved you in spite of yourself just the same.
When I think of you now, my heart aches. Because the unfinished business of you and I still keeps the wound a bit raw and open no matter how the years pass. Sometimes my heart aches for your voice and the roughness of your hands holding mine, and one more chance to fix things...but time does have a way of smoothing the creases. Finishing the raw edges and sewing together only the good stuff with the thread of forgiveness. 
I remember you proudly pulling the army green jacket you wore to war, out of the closet to show to me. 
I remember dancing with you to the beach boys.
I remember you keeping the christmas tree up until I got there that first summer.
I remember your rough and awkward embrace.
I remember your laughter.
I remember you.
Dad in his dress uniform, second from the left