Father's Day is always a tough time for me.
My Dad died in 1996. I was a sophomore in College. 16 years ago. That is almost half of my life he has been gone. Some will say that holding memories close and thinking about the good things can ease the pain or make missing someone abate to some degree. That's just a lot of crap. Deciding to withdraw life support after a massive heart attack and over a month in a vegetative state sits heavy and dark like some kind of rain cloud that just won't pour or move on.
But maybe this year is a little different.
My Father was a railroad man (you can read some stories here). He was about 5 '9 and weighed about 220 pounds and all of it was this rock-like muscle. His strength and size made his chosen passion for a hobby that much more bizarre; building detailed and fragile model airplanes. It would take anywhere from 6 months to over a year for my Dad to build a complete plane from scratch. And I mean from scratch, no kits. He custom built every part and even designed a type of wing that people would write to him about to try and get him to make a set for their planes.
They looked a bit like these, sorry I do not have pictures, I would have to ask my Mom to dig some up:
I would always go into the basement workshop and try to help out. Of course my Dad started me off slow with small balsa wood models to learn both about the process of assembly and how patient one has to be when dealing with something as fine as balsa wood. You cannot rush this stuff.
I hate to admit, but over time I had forgotten about those things. It just slowly faded out, like writing on a beach when the tide comes up. Maybe I never would have thought about it again, if not for a trip to Rockport, Massachusetts last weekend.
The wife and I were checking out the shops in the downtown area. Inside a "Country Store" there were all kinds of old candy I had not seen in a while (mallow cups!) and assorted New England things. At a back wall I was hit full on over the head with old time memories when I saw these balsa wood planes:
Made by Guillow, it was small balsa planes like this I used to assemble while working with my Dad! I can't lie, I was almost floored when I saw them. Such a simple thing really, but everything just poured in right then. I may have bought quite a few on the spot.
The plane in pieces, then assembled:
Just holding this plane I can feel the quartz space heater my Father had in the basement for the workshop. The smell of balsa wood, epoxy, styrofoam being burned by wires (filled the wings), and spray paint. How many hours did I spend down there? Not enough I should think.
So this year Father's Day is a bit better over here. Something so small and simple brought back so much to me. Nice when that happens.
My favorite picture of my Dad, sorry for the glare but this is a picture of an old picture I have saved. That is me and my Dad fishing (can't remember where it was!):
Happy Father's day.