Sunday, January 27, 2008

Shooting Dad or In My Case Dancing with Dad

Dancing with Dad

I read an essay by Sarah Vowell titled "Shooting Dad" it was an expression and detail account of her relationship with her father their conflicts and their realizations as well as a lesson learned.

We don't always get a chance to say the things we want to say and sometimes we say more then we should. My relationship with my father was far from the norm and the last things I said to him where based on the torments of a past not completely open to me.

My father use to hunt and fish, I was fortunately spared that ordeal. I enjoy the woods and lake just not the other and being a female it was not expected of me to indulge in this area. We often clashed on any number of issues. For the most part we shared nothing in common, I contributed very little positive to my father (or my mother) but in all fairness we did have a common interest a gift given whether by choice or by accident but given at any rate. Our passion for music and dance.

Sadly enough it wasn't until last summer that I could see beyond the shadows into a new light of my own past.

It was a beautiful morning in mid summer and the sun shined so clear it washed over the world with its brilliance, I had started on my way to work a normal routine day. When from off the top of Table Mountain a colorful glider burst into view it was red, blue, gold and green it glided into few and across the heavens blue.

I pulled my car over and got out to watch it (by now I had learned to leave early for work so that I might enjoy the little things like a rolling hill side of golden grass, or circling hawks.) as I sat there I began to notice the soft dancing motion of the trees which I was parked beside, then I noticed the song on the radio. "Kansas City" by Fats Domino.

As I listened I remembered old memories that had been locked away from me. I was 6 years old bright eyed blonde with the whole world before her, all legs and arms and still clinging to some hope of something better. I could see the room as if it where right there in front of me the old hard wood floor of the duplex we lived in on the SW 13Th in the "packing town" area of Oklahoma City.

The white walls scattered with photographs of family the main photo in our house always seemed that of my grandfather Floyd holding my mom age 3 and my grandmother holding my uncle Jessie age 1. The photo had been fading for years.

The tattered mix matched sofa and chairs, the cluttered yet clean mess of a two bedroom duplex home for two adults and four children, in the corner near the front windows the family record player and all the collected albums; Classical, Cultural, Rock and Roll , Country all at your finger tips.

And I saw my father and that little girl within me dancing he was teaching me to do the stroll to Kansas City, I smiled as I saw my smiling face, I heard the the laughter as he taught me to dance. and as I watched the images pass before me I saw another younger self maybe 4 or 5 years old, my small feet on top of his big brown cowboy boots as he danced with me during a waltz to Johann Strauss "Blue Danube".

"Close your eyes and see the music, feel it and let it move through you." he had told me several times through out my life when we danced or listened to music.

I later learned to dance to many types of music polka, the twist, Texas two step, and many more.
I learned to see the music, to feel it, to breath it in and to let it flow through me. In my waking mind music became vision, motion and emotion. Taking on form, color and expression. I learned to see the music as I would see colors and words later. It was a great gift to give a child.

That summer day, I wept for my father for the first time. The first good memory of a blocked 12 year childhood burst into view, into color and into music.

My father passed away 11 years ago unforgiven, unspoken to and unthanked for the gift he gave me, but that day I think I finally found that I could forgive him. I cant block out the bad with out blocking out the good. I have to be fair there were good moments and people in those 12 years that are worth remembering. Its not always easy to face the shadows but I have learned there is always a light at both ends of the corridor that leads through the shadows.

Forgetting is hard, forgiving is harder, and even more so when you have to forgive yourself. Don't hold on to the old patterns that will make you a prisoner of your own mind, its not easy by any means but you deserve to bask in the brilliance of the light within yourself and to see the world again with hope where the blue of the sky meets the sun.

Thanks Daddy for giving me this beautiful gift of seeing music.

1 comment:

Jean said...

I'm not sure what the "bad" was in connection to your Father, but i'm glad that you were able to forgive yourself for blocking out all of the "good" that you experienced with him. Hopefully, in a future blog, you will encourage others not only to forgive themselves for not seeing or remembering the "good" experiences in relationships, but to forgive those(while they are alive)who have hurt them. Forgiveness is actually the greatest gift,second only to love, that we can give to another person.
I am so glad that i learned about forgiveness, through the example of Jesus Christ, at an early age. My own Father died long before i was ready to let him go, but because of his unceasing love for others(especially me)we had a loving and special relationship in spite of our differences.
Thanks again for sharing about your Father. After reading your blog, i let my mine wander through many great pastimes spent with my own Father.