Thursday, February 10, 2011

My First Valentine

I have a picture that was taken when I was six years old.  I remember the day, at least in the way anyone can remember forty years past.  My dad had just taught me my very first song, ‘Lovesick Blues’ by Hank Williams, and told me if I kept practicing, I could be a professional yodeler someday.  In the picture, he is sitting in a chair and I have my arms around his neck.  He always had a way of making me feel special. 

I have another, taken when I was twenty.  There was a party going on, I don’t remember the occasion, but he and I had ended up in the kitchen, away from the crowd, having a drink and telling each other jokes.  He made fun of my boyish haircut.  I called him Sonny Bono.  He’s sitting in a chair and I have my arms around his neck.  He always had a way of letting me know that he loved me.

The night before he died, he told me how proud he was that I had grown into a good mother: a good woman.  I put my arms around his neck.  I remember it well.  I don’t need a picture. 

It has been eleven years and Valentine’s Day has never been the same.  It was his birthday and this year would have been his seventy-third.  If he were here, he would make me yodel for him and I would make fun of him for being so old.  Then I would walk up behind him and wrap my arms around his neck. 

I still think of him every single day.  My father, my daddy, my friend, my first valentine. 


llewdlac490 said...

That's beautiful. I love the pictures. He was very handsome. Kelly, don't you find as we get older we have selective memories of growing up? It's sad you lost your dad but I am glad for you, my friend, because you have happy, precious memories of your times together with you dad. He obviously loved you a great deal. Some daughters are haunted by negative memories and for me they only surfaced recently. There real but I don't waste my brain time reflecting on those. Instead I turn to the beautiful memories of grandad holding my hand as we hiked silently over three hollers and two hills down in the ozarks. He taught me to play the guitar, milk a cow, and ride horses. My heart smiles when I recall those times. So......I wish you a sweet; if not bittersweet, Valentine's Day! Never stop writing. You are awesome! I feel privileged to be on this blog. With love....................

Jon E. Stern said...

Wow! That brought tears to my eyes. I loved the line: "I don't need a picture," but you painted a beautiful picture for us. Thank you for the gift!