I’ll Stand By You
We all want our parents to live forever. Of all the people in the world to beat the odds stacked against him, I have always believed my dad would win. Always.
I know he won’t. Those odds are impossible. Still, it is the one shred of little-girl fantasy to which I cling. That my father will always be there. Saying outrageous things. Forcing me to shout to be heard. Telling his crazy stories, tales that fuel my own writing almost every day.
My father isn’t very secure. In fact, his constant refrain when I was growing up was, “You don’t love me no more, do you, Andra?” Even recent readers of this blog will divine that my father is a big personality. Used to adoration. Children don’t always know how to process that information when they’re young.
Few will doubt that I know what to do with it now.
I wish my dad could live forever. That he might be around as long as I am, in all his glory. Able to say and do maddening things that, in the end, mean he is still with me.
An empty wish. I know.
I will leave you with a story, as only Dad can tell it. One I never heard before last weekend.
There was this truck. The driver decided to go across that metal bridge. The one across the Hiwassee. Upriver from my Dad’s farm.
That truck hit that bridge, and it fell. Dropped that truck and its load of oranges into the middle of that river. I don’t even know how many oranges there was.
Well, it was January. That water was cold.
My Dad and I. We took a barge out into the river, and we loaded up as many oranges as we could gather. For weeks, we was finding oranges. Good and sweet. That cold water kept ‘em whole for us.
I’ll never forget those oranges.
I’ll never forget your oranges, Dad. I love you.