Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Special Day, a Special Dad

A few days ago, I had found a message on the answering machine at 33 South Main, from a Social Worker at a Nursing facility in Bath, NY. She said she was looking for David Clarke, so I called her back, and when we finally connected it was yesterday. She told me she had been trying to figure out who he was and why he held a medical proxy for a patient. I said I was sure she was talking about Mary Shedrick, although she had avoided giving a name. So I explained how Dad and Mom had been involved in trying to assist migrant workers and all that Dad had done for Mary and her family. She said Mary's son from Florida had visited recently, and I guessed at his name (Sherlock), which she wasn't certain of, but thought I was correct. I said she had my permission to give our phone number to him if he was interested in learning about Dad. She thanked me.
When I was over at the homestead on South Main yesterday, I was having a hard time being there without feeling that lost feeling that he's gone for good. I have my memories and have a sense of his spirit with me most of the time, but although I'm not struck with abject sadness so frequently, it is still difficult for me.
This morning I had updated my Facebook status to say that today would have been Dad's 90th birthday and that I missed him again. A friend responded by saying Dad was a cool guy and that I had not turned out too bad, either.
So I called the Doctor's office this morning to see if they'd ever gotten Great-grandpa Chester's Willard records from Binghamton or Albany. They're going to check and find out.
At church this past weekend, I told people that I wanted to plant trees in the Alfred Cemetery, as many of the present ones are old and several have come down in the past few years. I told them I'd hate for someone in 50 years to look around and have no trees in that beautiful place. Later, Jennifer Breeze Schultze called to tell me she'd like to help in that effort. I said I would like to not limit tree-planting to the cemetery, and she thought that was good, but we agreed it was a good place to start. Her former landlord, Henry Bauer, used to plant trees for people, and he had gone from being a really nice guy to one who was kind of scary. He finally took his own life late last year, and it was hard for her to feel good about him, but she said she didn't want his young child to think his Dad was a jerk who everyone hated, so planting trees would be a good way to help her and the child, to have a more positive view. I think Dad would approve.
Happy Birthday, Dad.

2 comments:

Sherman Clarke said...

Doug,
As I read this comment and think about the load you've had at 33, it provokes all kinds of thoughts. A house without active residents is tough to keep up unless it is explicitly a museum. I want it to be lived in so I hope I don't go wonky or wobbly too soon. And the citation from the village makes me think about how much we need to make decisions about where stuff goes so that it doesn't sit as the file cabinet has. I need to decide what's worth keeping and what's not so a couch of potential but not indispensible use doesn't stay past its time. And help plant trees.
Sherman

gdeecee said...

This is what was so daunting for me, when you were deciding when to retire and move. I had hoped to make much more progress at 33 (and at home) before that time came, but it has been difficult. I know I spend time communicating with people that might be spent "working", but I at least have enough Zen to try to live IN the moment some of the time, instead of regretting or anticipating. Anyway, I look forward to working with you.