|Dad and Grandson Tyler|
|Dad Snowblowing Nemo!|
On Sundays, throughout my childhood, my dad would cook his own pancakes in our home kitchen. He was a fixture by the stove--and as each of my four brothers and I would wake, and my mother, and when my grandparents arrived, my dad would stare out with wild, wonderful eyes and ask, "How many!"
Indeed, it was more a call to arms than a verifiable question.
What I appreciate most about my dad is his relentless enthusiasm for life. He's had to face some walls that I can't even imagine trying to scale, but every day he has woken up and tried to pass on to his five boys a sense of the wonder of life--the fact that we can hug one another, laugh with one another, noogie one another, fart (constantly) in front of one another, listen to one another, love one another.
When I was in high school, I did a creative writing project whereby I wrote 50 poems and then revised them and collected them into a small poetry book, called Eggs, Sunnyside Up. My dad read the thing and then, one Saturday afternoon, drive me into Hartford and brought me out for a cup of coffee at a place called Zuzu's, where we sat up in the loft and I tried to get used to the flavor of coffee while he told me how proud he was of me. Then he brought me to a print shop and together we chose a cover, font, style, size and he paid for thirty copies of the book to be printed up.
|Dad and His Five Boys During a Camping Reunion Trip|
My father drove thirty miles to meet me at a local coffee shop--Lasalle's--and sat with me for five hours as I relentlessly graded the things. Everytime I looked up at him with weary eyes that said--I can't do this job, let alone grade these essays--my dad would walk over to the free refill station and grab me another cup of joe, then place it in front of me. "Come on, Lukie-babes, you got this. Yes! Caffeine it! I put extra cinnamon in there, Luke--you got this!"
|Dad and Tyler and I in Summer 2010|
In this life, we all face walls that we wish we didn't have to. We all come up against circumstances that we wish we could change. My father has faced a lot of those. But he's always chosen to keep going at it--to keep pouring another cup of coffee and look for a way to find some enthusiasm (or at least invent some strange new phraseology). That's the big lesson I hold onto from my father: don't quit, and while you're not quitting, drink a heck of a lot of coffee and pile your pancakes high.
Without further rambling from me, One True Thing--poetry style--from my dad.
A Spark Always Exists
By Harry Wilson Reynolds, III