Gone...

... my Father built a swing in our backyard when I was little... and a monstrous thing, it was.... huge and rough... made of materials scrounged from the far corners.... the swing itself was made of lengths of 2X6's robbed from the Sweetwater Depot back when the depot was being torn down in the early 1980s.. the pillars supporting the swing were Sweet Gum switch ties.. rough and knotty railroad rejects that had seen their day long ago.... sixteen feet tall and sunk four feet deep into the rocky earth of our backyard... the chain connecting the two was made from an old logging chain that my Grandpa had handed down to Dad when he had gotten his first car back in '62... I suppose he figured that, knowing my Dad, he'd run off the road somewhere - due to excessive speed - and need to be pulled out of the ditch by a passing Samaritan... so he, in Fatherly love, gave the boy a log chain...

... how it ended up supporting that old swing is anyone's guess... perhaps the two ideas overlapped in my Father's mind... driving fast and needing to be saved by a passerby.. or hanging up the chain so that it could carry the swinging joyfulness of family and friends back at home... a different kind of saving, sure... but it was a kind of saving for him, I believe... as it turned out, the chain was able to fulfill both purposes equally....

... I remember sitting on that swing with him the evening before I left for basic training.... rocking back and forth and listening to the creaking of the old, rusty chain as it bore our weight... it was a very quiet time and he didn't say much... we just sat and rocked... later that night he had to leave for work, but I do remember us just sitting on the swing together and apart... both of us quiet... and both of us lost in our own thoughts.... Parris Island looming on my 17-year old horizon....

.. I was just thinking of that swing today... and how I would have said things back then... important things... if I'd have known then what I know now... instead of just sitting there mindlessly letting the swing take me back and forth through the Spring evening.... while I and my Father both quietly struggled with the thoughts in our minds....

by Eric on February 12, 2006 | Bullshit (5) | TrackBack (0) | SWG Stories
Bullshit So Far

sumtimes ... words need not be spoken. sounds like y'all probably knew what was going on inside each other's heads anyways. i'm sure he knew.

Bullshitted by erica on February 12, 2006 08:33 PM

I would agree. He knows.

Bullshitted by Richmond on February 12, 2006 08:52 PM

Jeez man, that is pretty powerful. I had a similar deal, which I was thinking about yesterday. My dad was a man of few words; I did not have the wherewithal to take the initiative to make serious conversations occur. I could do it now.

I remember an adage I heard about 'character' being something that gets built through missed opportunities, the things you can't go back and fix, the scar tissue that makes us who we are.

If I could sit down with my dad again there are some things I would say, but there are more that I would ask.

But I can't. So I remember the guy as well as I can and think about the stuff he said and did, and try to get as much as I can from the memories. The good thing is, the more you think about it, the more you remember.

Bullshitted by John Climacus on February 13, 2006 03:54 AM

Wow. I wonder.. it seems to be going around, this sudden longing for our fathers. I feel it too.

Bullshitted by Kelly on February 13, 2006 09:41 AM

Much as children either try to hide or not know what they are feeling or going through a parent surely does. Your father's silence said much without saying anything. There was little he could have said that you didn't already know and what you didn't know you could only learn through your own personal experience. He was a very wise man!

Bullshitted by michele on February 13, 2006 10:01 PM