Today on SMITH there was a little advertisement for a new book by Pearl S. Buck. A book written in 1973, but only now published (The Eternal Wonder). Seeing the book jacket and her name, I was suddenly transported to my own year of 1973 and a book I have by this author. Sitting on my shelf for 40years. Always out, never packed up and forgotten, no matter how many times I've moved.
It was a gift from my dad on my 21st birthday. He wrote a personal message to me in it. He said this was one of his favorite authors. I never knew that before he wrote it. We didn't talk much during my teenage years.
I have, every so often during the last 40 years, taken the book off the shelf. I open it, see his handwriting, and, well...cry, of course. It's not a ritual, I forget about the message, and am surprised when I see his handwriting again. I just can't stop the tears. He rarely wrote me anything. That's what made it so special to me. It happened again today, that shock of surprise, the tears. Maybe it is a ritual of sorts. A cleansing ritual, to wash away the sadness of losing my dad at such an early age. Both his age and mine.
He passed away the following year after the book gift. Which always seemed extra sad to me because he was just getting nice. He was healthier than he'd been for a long time, and I discovered he was funny, and warm, and thoughtful. My mom had passed away about ten years before, and he was finally dating again and happy. I expected him to be around for a lot longer. I guess we always expect that.
I've missed my dad so much. The dad he was that last year.
Please excuse the glare on my photo. Can't get the hang of my Kindle camera...