It’s the final day of a three-day BlogFest the purpose of which is to build a spirit of camaraderie among a gazillion bloggers from around the world who will be participating in an explosion of verbiage reaching out in a collective orgasmic display of galactic Internet Intercourse, after which some cigarettes will be smoked while others make their way to their kitchens for a bowl of ice cream. Well, maybe I exaggerate. Actually it’s merely a cyber social event where bloggers get to meet and greet over the Internet and share their wares…you can join in if you wish. The theme is to write about something you cherish in 500 words max. My contribution is below. Okay, so go fest!
GAUGING WHAT I CHERISH…
My father was a mechanical engineer. Those are fancy words for draftsman. He stood over a tilted plank of wood each day and produced meticulously detailed illustrations of instruments and gauges that would later be made into blueprints used in the manufacturing of his company’s products. These primarily were tachometers used in a variety of machinery from submarine propellers to large newspaper printing presses.
My dad was a man exceptionally organized and could anticipate just about every detail necessary for the proper planning of any endeavor. I am so like him.
One chilly December afternoon in 1982 I had a flat tire. Back then, you could always get someone to fix a flat at your neighborhood gas station. That’s where I was when my father arrived. He had dropped by the house and upon hearing of my situation, he got back in his car to come join me for moral support.
“Did you measure the pressure they put in the tire?” he asked me.
“No, Dad, my air pressure gauge broke and I suppose they checked it anyway when they fixed the tire,” I responded.
“Well, you should always have one. You never know when you might need it,” he lectured, but in a non-offensive way. This was a man who could pull just about any tool out of his pocket, glovebox or trunk no matter how obscure its function may be. I am so like him.
Two weeks later his chronic asthma partnered with a terribly hard-core cold, forcing a 911 call and a subsequent ambulance ride to the hospital. My wife and my mother were with him at the time. They later told me how he was digging through his pockets while he was strapped to a stretcher and being carried out of their apartment building. He was looking for quarters to give them so they could get through the automated parking gate at the hospital. That was so typical of my father’s way of thinking. There was no expectation then that he would be brain dead by the time they rolled him into the ER. The medics simply did not realize how bad his asthma was and did not force enough oxygen into his lungs. He would never gain consciousness again.
He remained on a respirator all through the Christmas holidays and early in the new year we were finally able to carry out the humane decision to unplug the machine and let nature take its course, which it did within just a few hours.
Later, while visiting my mother, she handed me a bag, explaining it was a small Christmas gift my father had gotten for me. I opened the bag and inside was a new tire pressure gauge. It instantly became a treasured possession because it not only reminds me of him, but also how much of him is in me. And I have come to realize it is that, and not the gauge, that is the true gift from my father that I cherish.
I want to thank everyone who left a comment. I was surprised to get so many, but because of the nature of some of them, I feel compelled to react. I sense I failed as a writer to convey my perspective behind the story I wrote. I had no intention of writing a “sad” piece as many of you have interpreted it. True, receiving a gift from your father after he has recently died is not the happiest of circumstance, but the gift was so typical of his caring nature that I found it comforting and even a bit humorous. I do not think I conveyed either of those emotions. The original version of my posting ran way long and I had to butcher it to get it down to 500 words. Perhaps that’s where some of my disconnect took place. Also, I am sure some of you will be surprised when I reveal that my father was 66 when he died and I was 38. I am 70 now. I perceive some of you pictured both of us a lot younger. This makes a great point in that love for a parent has no age barrier. I feel the same love for my father as I always have. Whether I’m 25 or 95 I will always feel this same way. Again, I appreciate all the comments that were left and I thank you for your kind thoughts. One final idea: if your dad is still around and you are happy that he is…go tell him!
And while I am on the subject, a cherished thank you to the following who recently took the time to stop by marc’s blog and leave a like:
Margie of Creating Serendipity, Kathleen Neiman, Lanie Hyman Shapiro, Ron Carmean and “Keys 1988” who lives in the village of Meltham which is a few miles down the road from Huddersfield in West Yorkshire, UK and probably about as different as you can get from my home here in South Florida, USA…maybe I can visit there some day. That’d be cool!