June 21, 2015, Monroe, WA- I woke , to a bit late today, around 7:15, to speak with my son on this Hallmark morning. It’s always good to hear his voice, contrived occasion or not. I was in the suburban clime of Mount Vernon, had been wished “Happy Father’s Day” by the waitress at Farm House Restaurant, in this city’s La Conner neighbourhood, after getting off the ferry last night, and got a somewhat more subdued greeting from the server at Riverside Cafe, near the motel, during breakfast this morning. Racial politics, Hispanic vs. Anglo, seems to be playing out a bit in this community, which is always a hard thing. I was given my breakfast, and two cups of coffee, then expected to leave. Riverside will not see me again., though Farm House would be a pleasure.
I was in a funk, not knowing which direction to head, yet after reclaiming some items I had left at Holiday Motel, the day before, and enjoying some coffee and a treat at Johnny Picasso’s, in Anacortes, I had an idea. Heading to Arlington, and Oso, the site of a horrible mudslide in March, 2014, I took some time for prayer towards racial healing, as several people back in Arizona were gathering to pray for the same, with the Charleston Massacre as their focal point. There is no one group that does not need a healing balm.
The message was clearer to me after that, and I drove east on Highway 2, finding the small town of Monroe to be a good place to rest. The Monroe Motel lies alongside Woods Creek, so there was no finer place for me to observe today, thinking of fatherhood-how it affected me as a son, as a son-in-law, as a spouse and as a parent.
I was not an easy son. My happy-go-lucky, but hard-working father did not know what to make of me, half the time. I did not know what to make of me, half the time. I wonder if he knew how much he was loved, back then. He knows now.
My role with my father-in-law was part good-natured foil for his jokes, and part guarantor of his family line’s continuing on in safety. We gave him his only grandson, and that guaranteed my safety. He knows now, how important it was to me that Aram actively knew his grandfather. Both of mine were dead before I emerged from toddlerhood.
Penny and I were close to nature, as individuals and as a pair. She would sometimes, in the throes of her progressive decline, say that she felt she was in my way. In truth, she WAS my way. She knows that now.
I have gone through a fair number of personal struggles, in my late teens, in my twenties, and in the buffeting called my fifties. Somehow, I have emerged. Fatherhood happened for me, in the best way I knew at the time. There was a lot more I could have provided, for my son’s stability. I realize that now.
He’s okay, thanks to the discipline of the Navy, and his grandfather’s guiding hands of steel and velvet. I am here for him, and can finally show a solid example of how to move through life, come hell or high water. Aram knows that now.
I went into this lovely, if cavernous, establishment in downtown Monroe. A Caesar salad, meat lasagna and a bowl of spumoni were my Father’s Day meal. Half the lasagna was saved for tomorrow, and my drive to Wenatchee, where I will reconnect with friends from three years ago.
I end this with Monroe’s comment on the whole race issue.
My spirit guides are with me, still.