-happy father’s day-

a small moonlit story

imagine that
your first memory of brown coveralls
(Carhartt, Dickies, Walls, pick your favorite brand)
was the pair your daddy wore
on an icy night
when the two of you walked downhill,
boots finding traction on gravel beneath snow
and then…
up to the bend in the road
-where he built the hay shed in a warmer month-

the starting point.

you don’t yet know the first thing about snow
but he does.
he knows the right night to bring out the runner sled
how to guide it along the curve of the pavement
with no fear of flipping or tipping.
all you have to do is lie on his back and
experience:
speed
out of your control
gravity pulling
snow and ice splattering into your face
air (you’ve forgotten how to breathe) forcing itself into your nose
a frozen moment in time
-rest in motion-

then, too soon
the easing to a stop
(slightly anti-climactic – no grand finale here)
standing to shake snow out of all the wrong places
almost ready for the long walk back
to woodstove heat and marshmallowed cocoa
or maybe… just one more ride.

it’s funny:
twenty, twenty-five, thirty years later
his voice over the phone line and two hundred miles away-
“If you were here I’d take you on a sled ride.”
and it’s all right there on the tips of your senses: all of it.
snow
and stars
the crunch-glide of metal on ice
lonely-dark night turned to memory of home

and maybe he never even wore coveralls
maybe it was just his old tan overcoat
(the one with the woven-textured buttons that you salvaged)
maybe you got the details all wrong.
whatever.

the memory is still valid.

 

For years I’ve wondered how to put onto paper this memory of my father from my childhood. Maybe it was the overabundance of snow this winter that finally made the words fit together. Snow begets memories of snow – or at least more detailed ones.

And then one snowy evening he called me (or I called them, I don’t remember which) and he made that long-distance offer, “If you were here I’d take you on a sled ride.” He didn’t know he was handing me the final bookend for this little work-in-progress.

Happy father’s day, Dad! I love you!

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About ruthie.voth

Wife of one, mother of four, friend of many. Lover of details, color, good conversations, finding balance, and being honest. Passionate lover of a well-crafted sentence - even more so if it's witty. Weird blend of cynical optimist. I'm the worst kind of woman. I'm high maintenance, but I think I'm low maintenance. Somehow, people still love me. Must be grace.
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2 Responses to -happy father’s day-

  1. Roy Hunsberger says:

    Thanks, Ruthie. I probably enjoyed those sledding times as much or more than my children did. I miss having children around to go sledding with whenever it snows. We had a couple days this past winter that could have made for good sledding on the road. I went down and took a ride one time but it is not the same to do it by yourself. And there is so much more traffic on our road these days that its not quite as safe as it used to be. My most memorable ride was one with Marcus, probably after you had left home. We sledded from around the curve above our house all the way to the little green house on the left past Wilson Road. When we got off at the bottom we were met by an older lady with a switch from a tree telling us we shouldn’t be sledding on the road. When we got up off the sled, she said in shock and disbelief, “Oh, you’re a man! You ought to know better.” (I could see a group of children walking up the hill toward Travis Lunsford’s house that she had just chased off the road.)

    The next ride we walked over into Adams Estates across the road and walked to the top of the hill to sled down back toward our house. There we were chased off by the woman who lived at house at the top of the hill. She told us we were trespassing. So, we took one more ride down Adams Hill road toward the woman at the green house. But that time we pulled off and stopped a little before we got to the green house! 🙂

    Thanks for the memories. (I think those night time sled rides were the most fun — and probably the safest, too — on the road.) I love you too.

    Daddy

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  2. jamahu says:

    Ah the joys of a good sled ride on Adams Hill Road… That time with all the scolding is the one I remember most too, Dad. Thanks for not letting them spoil our fun. 🙂

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