Thirty years ago today, my mother lost her husband. My brother and I bereaved our father, much too young to truly understand an enduring goodbye. My children know him through old photos and the stories I retell. Dad was fond of plaid pants and Famolare golf shoes (and wasn't afraid to wear them off the golf course). Shirt pockets were never without Tic Tacs. After six o'clock you could find him in his Lazy Boy recliner, studying his dogeared, note-filled Bible until Johnny Carson came on at 11:00. He had the voice of a paper lion, strong yet subtle; his ample years in radio broadcasting were a testimony of his well crafted intonation. He read to me at night, often retelling the same story for months at my request.
Occasionally I'll bring home some of his favorite musical artists from the library: Lou Rawls, Kris Kristofferson, Louie Prima and Keely Smith. The children and I will dance around the kitchen, mimicking my father's silly foxtrot with his signature crazy, wavy, hand motions. Nick shares his build, Arielle possesses his stagecraft, and John-John received his playful sense of humor.
Stories hold hands with history, and through them I tightly grip memories of my father while my children meet a small slice of their grandfather. Sometimes it's all we have to share. It will have to be enough, till we have faces.