Warm summer nights always remind me of the good old days. I have such happy memories of living on Guilford Avenue. We loved that home and backyard, and that tiny duplex seemed huge at the time. Like many, we grew up without air conditioning OR a shower – only a bathtub shared by a family of 7, imagine that! Snapshot vignettes of my Dad come into my mind and for some reason, many of them were from summertime.
I remember the time he chased a bat in the house with a hat on, broom and dustpan in hand.
I remember how he set up an exhaust fan in the bathroom window, which magically drew a delightful, cool breeze into our bedroom windows at night.
I remember him watching the Long Meadow fireworks from our playroom window with us.
I remember when he worked 3rd shift and how we failed at being quiet as he slept during the day.
I remember his love of all music, from Mozart to Neil Diamond to 5th Dimension to Creedence Clearwater Revival.
I remember him taking me to the railroad yards where he worked, where I explored endlessly, cleaned up and pretended to work.
I remember him playing baseball with all of us kids in the tiny gravel driveway in our backyard.
I remember how the cool basement was his escape, where he used to tinker with old radios and work his jigsaw puzzles on a mint green wooden table.
I remember how excited we were when he drove the library bookmobile down our street and stopped in front of our house, giving us a personal tour.
I remember his love of trains, and how he set up an intricate model train set that fascinated us.
I remember sitting with him in the middle room, watching baseball on the small television set as he drank a Piehl’s beer on a hot summer night.
I remember him driving through Hurricane Agnes to take us on a promised day trip to visit The Smithsonian in Washington, DC.
I remember fun times with the Keller family at the picnics and Chincoteague.
I remember him teaching me how to drive on a manual shift Chevelle, and his infinite patience as I had difficulty mastering the clutch.
I remember dancing with him at Homecoming Dance.
I remember how all children and babies – grandbabies, nieces, nephews, friends and strangers – gravitated to him.
I remember his words during one of the most painful times in life, and how he inspired me to make the necessary changes.
I remember evenings rocking on the porch with him at the Lankford Hotel in Ocean City as he smoked cigarettes.
I remember his endless love and his support throughout my life.
I remember the last day that I saw him.
I will always remember what a wonderful man and a wonderful father he was to all of us.
I’ve been on a real Radiohead kick the past few years, and I was excited that both of my sisters are Radiohead fans as well! This is one group I have yet to see in concert, but I’m keeping my eye out for their next tour. 😉
I think Thom Yorke is one of the most brilliant lyricists and singers. His voice is ethereal, haunting, and sends chills down my spine. I particularly love this song, “Sail to the Moon,” which Thom wrote for his son. It makes me think of my beloved Tommy, especially during Tommy’s battle with lymphoma, which fatefully claimed him. I would sing the lyrics to this song to Tommy, and pray he was going to be okay.
Somehow as I was listening to this song, it inspired this poem. I don’t know why but it just came to me, starting with the phrase “lines in the sand” and it just sort of morphed into this. I love when that happens! Thank you, Thom Yorke, for your constant inspiration!