'Chip Shots from the Ruff of Life' with Tom Kelley
Originally posted on 05/16/2019
The first images of my father were those I had as a rugrat. Everyone looks tall when you're lying on the floor. Even mom looked tall from that perspective. As I grew I began to set my growth goals when I realized that I would get taller, mom was the first mark. I caught her when I was in the seventh grade, blew by her in the eighth and caught dad as a freshman in high school.
I was a six foot two inch one hundred fifty pounder at age fourteen. Even that scrawny I realized that I was about as big as dad. As I continued to grow I became stronger through some very hard work in the hay fields in the summers and began to fill out. Mom noticed my increased bulk and commented on it to dad. "Betcha I can still take him, Dot," was dad's reply.
That's the thing about our parents. We started out small so we could appreciate not just the size difference but the job difference as well. We needed their protection growing up. Now we are adults. I remember when dad told me about his all too human frailties. He showed me his little bottle of nitro glycerine and told me about the onset of osteoporosis. I watched my father go from almost six feet two inches tall to not even five feet nine inches tall at his death.
That was when I realized that my parents were not Superman and Superwoman. While dad's body gradually deteriorated, mom's mind began to gradually leave her. It wasn't that many years ago that I was struggling to keep up my father's walking pace. Now I make pilgrimages to his resting place. In the final analysis we are all too human. But that is our blessing that we pass on.
In Genesis 27:26-29 a failing Isaac blessed Jacob thinking that he was Esau. Both boys failed to udnerstand that the blessings of fatherhood are not what is left when a father dies but what is given to be possessed before one knows that death is near. I am like my father. I am all too human. One day I will die. What I leave my children will not be a smattering of possessions for them to divide. What I leave them will be what my dad left me. I am human. All too human. The only thing I did that was not a mistake was to love my family.