12 May 2006

The Swing

When Daddy and I finished the front and back porches on the house at the farm, he bought a kit to make a home porch swing. We'd had a porch swing since I can remember. At the house in Arlington we had one, and all my friends would it on sit or on the awesomely sturdy porch rail. Sometimes, when feeling brave and show-offy, I would sit on the airconditioner unit sticking out of the living room window.

We put the one up at the farm, facing out into the back yard. Daddy and I would sit and swing and watch the day end, listening to the crickets, birds, and various other fauna that called our property home. Sometimes I could hear the waves rolling into the Chesapeake Bay, 1/4 mile down the road. I would lay on the swing, foot up at the junction of the chains, pushing lightly so it would rock slowly side to side, listening to Daddy mow the lawn, or fixing something, or measuring the walls so he could cut the siding. Or I would be doing something and he'd sit on the porch talking to me, sweatband sitting on his eyebrows, a sweaty drink on the seat next to him. Maybe he'd stick a cigarette in the corner of his mouth and strike the flint to light it.

Daddy sold the farm about three years ago. It absolutely broke my heart, because that was our place, and one of the only places in the world that I felt wholly and completely safe. He needed to, to get money to keep his business going.

The swing was remanded to the backyard at the family's house in Warrenton. My brother-in-law told me this weekend that every time he and Daddy would be out in the yard doing work, Daddy would see the swing sitting on a pile of dirt, weeds growing up around it. He would turn to Jeff and say, "I'm going to put that swing up before I die."

Wednesday night, he finally got it up and ready to use. He and my year and a half old neice, Amber, sat outside on it for about a half hour, swinging while he talked to her.

He died Wednesday night in his sleep. The way everyone would want to go. At home, in bed, sleeping. I could ask for nothing more from this situation. Perhaps to have my father back, my Daddy, my hero and role-model. I can go on endlessly about how I miss him, how I ache, how it scares me to death that I am not a slobbering mess. But rather than focus on any of it, I think about the swing.

The minute I walked in the door, I went immediately to Aiden, my beloved 4 month old nephew, picked him up, and headed outside to sit on the swing. We swang, rocked, nuzzled, and I talked and cried to him. I swear Daddy was sitting right next to us the whole time.

1 comment:

fyrchk said...

That is a beautiful post. Don't worry about the crying thing. I rarely cry when someone dies, but I do cry at movies. So, I like to think there's just something wrong with the tear-ducts.

The swing is a lovely memory for you and now no matter what, whenever you see one, you will be reminded of your dad. Could you ask for anything better?