I’ve been driving across a lot of vast, open spaces in the past few days….the beginning of plains country around Amarillo and the high desert and desert of New Mexico stretching all the way to mountain. Dad has been on my mind. He was about the same age I am now when he died. And I never really knew him. If he could have waited on me to grow up more, to be able to sit in the discomfort that was always between us, we might have been able to have some real conversation, or if not that, that sincere quiet that can reside between two people who love one another. My Dad was a child of the Great Depression, and that marked him all his life. He left home early; by 16 he was off to college and then to the Merchant Marine Academy. He was forthright and opinionated. He drank too much and said things I would imagine he regretted later. It was the saying of those things that put distance between us. They hurt, and by the time I was 8 I moved some place far back inside myself and never came close to him again. But some of my siblings managed better. My late sister Carmen said she always saw him as a hurt, little boy. My brother loved and admired him and has nothing but that to express when my Dad’s name comes up to this day. But me….I missed an opportunity to know him. I couldn’t get past the fear of hurt. So I’m thinking of him as I drive past vast, open spaces because there was a vast, open space between us, and now I’d like it closed.


5 responses to “spaces

  1. Hurt carves such resilient places in us. ~ This is an interesting juxtaposition of spaces, one allowing you to contemplate the other. I always find space comforting, as if it takes a lot of it to unravel difficult aspects of self.

  2. Always, your words are so beautiful. Thanks.

  3. My father. We met once when my mother traveled from Oklahoma to Virginia to show him the daughter he’d vowed forever to deny. I was a blonde-haired toddler and must have sparked a brief parental urge in him. He demanded complete custody but my mother just wanted child support. We returned to Oklahoma without a penny and I never heard from the man again. In my forties, I searched on the Internet for my father and found he’d died several years prior. I was able to track down the children he had with the woman he eventually married. Now, I share a close bond with a brother and sister from that union. From what they’ve told me, I don’t think I would have liked the profane, cigar-smoking, binge drinking, womanizer who was my father. Growing up, I always envisioned him as a handsome soldier, a war hero. And that he was.But that was not all he was and I am grateful now that I never saw my father’s harsher side.

  4. Thinking of you as you drove the long distance, while we watch the TV news of the Arizona/New Mexico fire and now the Texas fires. Trying not to worry….

  5. Love the high plains and the lonely beauty. Yes, definitely a weekend for remembering. As I read my dad’s letters from his youth, I’m learning lots about myself.

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