I am vacuuming in all those little corners that never get attention this morning and I’m clearing out piles of paper that have accumulated from the beginning of school. And lo and behold under the papers I arrived at my dad’s ashes. They are in a jar next to the telephone. Usually they are completely covered and the telephone is never on the stand but today I have cleared the area out. The kids have no idea that the mason jar next to our change jar is filled with Grandpa. It’s a small jar – not all of dad because he is buried at Arlington. I’m not sure Justin even realizes he is there. The problem is I don’t know where to put him. Do I buy a beautiful vase and place him in there on the bookcase? Or maybe I should build an altar of sorts on the mantle?
None of those ideas seems suitable. Until his last year, Dad was always in the middle of everything. He was the hustle and bustle. He was the center. Center of every party he went to or held, center of the market he enjoyed going to or the center of the office he was working in. I suspect that was always the case for him as I have received some notes from his high school classmates that missed him at the reunion this month. Interestingly, somehow, my dad was part of two high school classes. I guess graduating with one was simply not good enough!
I miss him in the hustle and bustle of my life. I miss telling him about Alex’s fantastic catch in center field or about the Socratic Seminar method Alex is using in his English class. He would love to discuss Alex’s studies with him and he would be brought to tears by Alex’s new found writing skills and desire to study Architecture – two of my dad’s favorite things unbeknownst to Alex. Eva’s art and creativity would floor him. And the twins’ street smarts would make him proud as they have undoubtedly come from him.
So, I think he will stay right here in the middle of my kitchen next to my telephone. I think he would prefer to be right there…even more than being spread from the Eiffel Tower. I know most of him is in Arlington, his friend sent me a picture of the newly installed plaque, but Dad and I were not always geographically close. Most of the time I only had a little piece of him anyway. But if a little bit of him is in my kitchen maybe, just maybe, I will feel like he is still here with me.