I'm past 60 where life seems a little quieter, more patient, less demanding, less contentious. Folks long gone are more remembered; childhood is more missed, youth is forgiven. With the grey hair, that I'm still vain enough to dye, has come the understanding that life isn't forever and if I have something left to do, I better get with it.
Funny when I woke up this morning, a whole year older, that the first thing I would think of was my dad. Although I never remember him ever saying: "I love you," I knew. It was the little things like filling my glass with milk when it was empty, without me having to ask (such an important thing for a little kid).
He was a janitor at the high school when I was a kid and I worked for him everyday after school (from the time I was 11 until my second year at University) sweeping floors for $10 a month, every penny of which I saved till the day before my 16th birthday when I bought my own first horse.
He was 48 when I was born and worked every day of his life from the time he was 13 till he was 79. He was just 5'8 and 145 lbs but with muscles like small grapefruits on his arms. I laugh when I see this picture because that is how I always remember him, with his sleeves rolled up.
Dad was quiet, humble man with a dry sense of humor, an immigrant from Wales. Little kids and animals loved him. I came out of the cinema one time with my daughters (he always waited outside for me) and found him talking to a young mom. Neither Dad or I had ever met her before. She looking me right in the eye and said: You're so lucky to have him for a dad." I smiled and said, "I know."
Many days, though he passed on long ago, I feel him close, like today. Nos da Tad. Cariad Mawr.