A winter visit with Dad

With Christmas put away and the season of Lent looming (a pocket of calm between two busy seasons), I knew I needed to get up to Springfield, VA to visit my dad whom I haven’t seen since since last spring, when I helped clean out his old house in Ridley Park. Poking around on Expedia, I discovered a round-trip flight out of Jacksonville for $100. That’s crazy. That can’t be right. It was. I booked it.

Early Wednesday morning I cruised up to the Jacksonville airport through minimal traffic, breezed through security with no wait, had a nice aisle seat on a 3/4-full plane, taking off on a beautiful clear day in Florida. I would get to see a high-school production of Hairspray, for which my neice Sarah was playing violin in the pit. And as I waited for the Metro, snow flurries began to fall. All blessings for which I was very thankful.

Dad turns 91 this spring and isn’t moving around too quickly these days. A sore hip slows him down (along with the refusal to use a cane or walker), and it’s both scary and painful to watch him walk. A visit with dad is mostly sitting, talking, eating, napping and working on crossword puzzles. I’m thankful for this, too, for I know the day will come when I won’t be able to do these things with him anymore.

carousel 1Yesterday was out of the ordinary, though. In just a few hours time, we Face-timed with Eden (the first greatgrandchild, just six months old, who lives in Dallas) and we looked at his slides from the early 1950’s. Talk about a contrast of technologies! I wonder what percentage of people alive today even know what slides are? Dad still has his Kodak Carosel projector which cost him $150 in 1978. If I figure correctly, that was expensive! And fifty years ago we only dreamed about video conversations.

The projector workcarousel 2ed fine for about an hour, but then something happened to the mechanism that advanced the slides, so after five or six trays, we had to call it a night. But in those five or six trays, I discovered some pictures I didn’t even know he had. Like me about one-year old with all four of my grandparents. (Both my grandfathers died when I was young, so I have little memory of them.) Me as a toddler with a head of blonde hair. (As I grew, it turned dark brown, but is now mostly gray.) A picture of my mom when she was a twenty-year old nursing student, dating my dad who was ten years older. (My youngest daughter is just about that age.) A few pictures from my ordination and installation at my first church in Coventry, CT. I don’t have many pictures from that day. Dad did. I grabbed a bunch of these to digitize.

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