Saturday, April 20, 2013

Willing to Forgive

Friday, the weather turned rainy as the temperature dropped. I needed coffee, short term and long term. I needed to go to West Middlesex for O'Neill coffee, first at the Diner for breakfast and then to the store for bags at home. The moist drizzly day drew me back to riding in the car with my dad for errands.
Those days, a kid could sit up front and Dad could point out objects in his story. I feel sorry for kids strapped in their car seats, unable to explore the world with ease. I know, they're safer there and all that. I kept my kids in their seats as required by the law, even for short distances. But oh how they miss that closeness I had with my dad, when he and I drove around the Valley.
Well, my daughter has long outgrown car seats and even sitting in the back when it is only us two. I felt so much like my dad today. I wanted to channel his understanding, his history telling and quietness, as well. I showed Mary Ellen where Dad's childhood home would have been. His aunt Kate had a restaurant across the street, Dad's cousin, Becky told me. She also wrote that Grandma Rebecca Thompson lived on Garfield Street. That street in town, always had the old town feel to it.
We ventured into the feed store to see the live chicks. Mary Ellen loves animals, clucking at the chicks and ducklings, laughing at their responses. I told her Uncle Dan always came here, bringing home animals, saying they were for me. Mom and Dad couldn't say no, then.
I also remembered watching our neighbor's chick when they went away for a weekend. I stared intently at it in their shed as the morning light filtered through the window. I lowered my face closer to its intense eyes and quickly felt the prick of those hard beaks. I jumped back and held the tears that sprung from the pain.
I thought of when the tree in this picture needed to come down from Dutch Elm disease. We lost five trees in those first years up on Main Street. Dad let me ride with him as he borrowed the tree trimmer's old dingy, one time bright green pick up truck. The weather, rainy in spring with cool temps, I stared down at the holes through the floor watching the muddy road below us.
I felt so safe with Dad. We visited Aunt Eleanor and I played with the pie dough, while Dad visited with Uncle Eddie. We went to Aunt Anna's  in Sharon, in her second floor apartment in an old white house on Silver Street. A great time would be driving to Mercer to Aunt Pick's huge dark old house, and she would just be pulling homemade bread out of the oven, the only time I ate crust on bread when I was a child.
Today, I did hope I helped Mary Ellen feel like I did when I was with my dad. Dad didn't lecture or talk much. When we rode across the bridge on Haywood Street by the cemetery, I told Mary Ellen how Dad and other teen boys in the 1930's rode on running boards across the creek, only the bridge didn't have any rails then. The story came to surface while I lay in a hospital bed after my concussion from falling off the hood of a car. Dad had a way of making his kids not feel too stupid or maybe keep us from feeling too proud in thinking we were the first to do stupid things.
Oh, and the sign is still bent on School Street from my first driving lesson. I will post a picture of that sometime.
I look at that picture of our side yard and think of how as I passed by it today, the yard seems so much smaller now. It is much more overgrown. Dad plowed down the hedges I think in the fall. He didn't trim them so much as give them a chance to grow new every year. Is that what Jesus does with our sins? We get a clean slate every day. We grow and hope we don't have too many weeds in our lives. But Jesus is there, willing to forgive.
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