We buried my father on Saturday. My mother, sibs, the grandkids, in-laws, and I get teary-eyed from time to time, but we also laugh a lot because we always laugh when we’re together.
At the wake, my brother’s best friend since elementary school recalled that my dad, alone among his buddies’ parents, wasn’t fooled by his upstanding-young-man act. “He saw through my bulls*#t.”
Probably so, but my father had a soft spot for a certain kind of bulls*#tter. He had no time for braggarts and those who made empty promises, but he’d cut slack for a guy who just wanted to have fun.
My brother’s best friend grew up to be a responsible member of society and served as a pallbearer. My dad would have gotten a kick out of telling Johnny, “Watch where you’re going, will you?” He’d have been proud, too.
Another funeral preceded my dad’s, so we waited behind the church for the earlier mourners to disperse. Turns out Sue, my friend-since-freshman-year-of-college, and her husband showed up early, thought they’d gotten the time wrong, ran inside and stumbled into a pew. After a few minutes, Sue wondered why she didn’t recognize anyone. Later, when her husband said something about me having had a long day, I could reply, “Unlike you, I only went to ONE funeral today.”
The next day, my younger daughter broke out some of the videotapes my father recorded in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Camcorder in hand, he’d chronicle birthday parties, trips to Turtleback Zoo, and wedding rehearsals. As the designated videographer, he could disappear into the background while remaining part of things. He captured touching moments, unfortunate hairstyles, and fashion choices we’ll never live down. Parachute pants, anyone? Eventually, we’ll transfer the tapes to digital format and make lots of copies. Big and small memories will live on thanks to my dad.