Thursday, March 21, 2013

Don't give up

Life long pals. On vacation November 2000.
“Don’t worry,” I hear my father say. “He will get there.” He watches Sam, now asleep on his bed and shakes his head in amusement. “He looks comfortable. One thing about Sam, he is always smiling.” My father is Sam’s number one fan.

“Yes he is.” I confirm. “He gets that from you.” My father agrees saying, “When I was in the army I was always in trouble for smiling. They told me, Smiling Jack! Wipe that smile off your face.“ “Yes,” I say.“ And I have heard many other stories when you were in trouble for smiling.” True.” He acknowledges with another of his famous grins.

“How is school?” he asks. “Sam likes math,” I answer, “He likes to read, he likes to draw.” My father responds, “I think he will surprise everyone one of these days.” For a moment or two I feel safe within the cocoon of my father’s optimism.

“Sam is always happy,” my father marvels again. “Yes,” I say. “Well most of the time. He wasn’t too happy at school last week. And they weren’t too happy with Sam.” “Ah,” says my father, “no one ever said life would be easy. Never quit.” “Never quit.” I echo. In my mind I hear my Uncle Anthony tell me, “One thing about your father. He’s no quitter.” We are not quitters. This is our legacy.

My father drifts off for a moment and then returns to me asking, “How tall is Sam now?” “Tall like you. Six foot one.” I answer. My father likes that answer. He likes being responsible for Sam's height. “Sam is a good-looking boy.” He says. “He has a beautiful nose.”  My father also treasures beautiful noses.

He watches Sam thoughtfully. Then he reminds me, “My father used to say to us: Don’t you know, you didn’t come looking for me. I went looking for you.” “Yes, I remember.” I say, acknowledging my responsibility. “I had a wise grandfather.”

Sam is now awake and boisterous once more.  My father marvels one last time, “Look how happy he is. He will get there. Never give up.

“I won't,” I promise my father for what will be the last time, I won't.” “Good,” he answers as he smiles once more. 

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