Happy Father's Day
My dad was not much of a talker, and he didn't care for emotion very much, any kind of emotion. The only way I knew he cared about me was that he made me things sometimes. When I was young he helped me build a mutascope; later, when the Pratie Heads were new, he built me a stand to put my violin, dulcimer, and concertina on; and later still, he built me a bathouse and sent me the plans.
When my daughter Melina was in high school, my dad, an engineer who graduated from MIT after coming from a Pennsylvania Dutch farming family, brainstormed with her about the building of a "mousetrap car" for physics class, and later sent her a box with his own mousetrap car design, all in pieces, for her to construct for fun. She never did, though. The box of parts is still in the attic and my throat catches whenever I see it.
Almost the last time I saw my dad, in 1999, when he was soon to die of leukemia, he said in a rare moment: "I'm not afraid to die, I'm just sorry I'm not going to see what happens next." As my kids and I were getting into the car to drive home from his place in Alabama, he gave me a little slip of a tree in a pot. It was a cutting he had started from his beloved Japanese maple. It was the last thing he made for me. It's planted outside my front door, where I see it every day. Isn't it lovely?
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