I drove home last week to spend a few days with my mom & dad. Things are changing, and I find myself grasping at glimpses of our lives together, stories that have become threads of our life tapestry: Dad's army stories, our vacation stories, things from our house that remind me of growing up and how good it was just living in the same house together. We share so many good memories.
My cousin, Regina, was there when I arrived last Saturday. I hadn't seen her in so many years. Wow, she's so beautiful. We played together a lot when we were kids, and she got to spend the night at my house, maybe not as often as we'd have liked, but still pretty often. I can hardly even think of Gina without remembering the 'iced tea incident'. All these years later, it still makes me smile.
It was the morning of one of our sleepovers and Dad made pancakes. There we sat, kitchen table covered with plates and forks, a platter piled high with pancakes and sausage, stick of butter, bottle of syrup. I think I was the first to go. I reached for the syrup and must have bumped my iced tea glass because over it went, spilling all over the table and soaking into the placemats. Dad jumped up and grabbed a towel, got everything cleaned up, and after I said for the umpteenth time how sorry I was, and after telling me it didn't matter for the umpteenth time, Dad got me a fresh glass and we sat back down to pancakes.
We were having a good time, eating our breakfast and planning our day, when Gina reached for another pancake and knocked over her glass. Oh, dear! Dad jumped up again to grab a dish towel, tea towel as we called them then, and started mopping tea and picking up ice cubes from the table. Gina said she was sorry about a million times, but my dad wasn't the kind of guy to get mad about stuff like that. He just got everything cleaned up and when he sat down said something like, "Okay, you two, how about being a little more careful with those pajama sleeves." Seemed like a reasonable request after all that mopping up.
Dad sat back down for the third time and as he reached for the syrup.... Yep, you got it. He knocked over his own iced tea. I laugh just thinking about it. He didn't jump up this time, but sat and watched as a river of tea moved across the table. Gina and I looked at my dad, then looked at each other, and it was just too much for our little girl selves. We started to giggle. Then we started to laugh. Dad lost all resolve and started laughing, himself.
He cleaned up the third overturned glass and was still laughing when he sat back down. Gina and I laughed and carried on all through the rest of breakfast, waving bites of sausage in the air on the end of our forks, and talking with our mouths full. Dad laughed with us and smiled as we retold the story again and again, belly laughing over how funny it all was.
Dad never has been one to worry much over things that don't matter. He's always taken things in stride, never let much of anything ruffle his feathers, even when three glasses of iced tea get turned over in one meal.
Love you, Dad.