Thursday, March 4, 2010

Two Purple Things

Yesterday was a good, purple kind of day.
First, there was Elizabeth and her purple rubber band.
And then Dad arrived wearing an oversized, camel-hair coat
and his purple beret. I don't know, it felt like a sign, the two purple things.
And the fact that she's three and he's eighty-three, and he's her great-grandfather. You can see where I'm going with this, right?
The joint was jumping with signs yesterday.

Dad is eighty-three years young, with a thick head of white hair, a beard, blue eyes. He smiles way more than I do and often bursts into song, Go tell Aunt Rhody, go tell Aunt Rhody...

"Back by popular demand!" he shouted, as he came through the front door, arms out to hug me. He is skinny and a bit wobbly when I hug him anymore. But still, for all intensive purposes, the man is a solid hugger.
It runs in the family.

He had driven down from his mountain home; my grandparent's summer cottage so many years ago. The dirt road, named Jackson Lane, weaves up through the woods passed old stone walls. At the top you break out into the light and open fields. There's the leaning barn, the ancient apple tree, and Dad's cozy house with the big picture window.

"Everything's fine up here at the assisted living care funny farm!" he says when we talk on the phone. This busts him up every time.

I've got a closet full of stories about my father, and the old farm where he lives. But right now, I am holding this sliver of a moment in my mind's eye:

He is sitting on the landing of the stairs in my house. I am on the step above him. Out of his pocket he has pulled an old wooden top, the kind of toy that children used to play with before DSI's and other such games. With his old, veiny hands he drops the top and it begins to spin on the wood floor between us. We are both laughing while it's spinning. When it topples to a stop, I take a turn. The wood is smooth to the touch. I curl my fingers around the top, feeling its small point. With a twist of my wrist, I drop it and it begins to spin again. We are laughing like two small children.


  1. Hey, Bets... Loved this story. Maybe because your Dad stopped to see Christopher, today. Chris told a story about the purple hat. How pretty it was on Ellsworth, that it matched the veins in his face!


  2. All you need is a little wooden top...