Taking a Sunday to honor dad is not a bad way to pass an early summerís afternoon. Unfortunately, itís hard to recall the last time I was there with him to do what he likes to do: water his lawn and watch his grass grow into a soft carpet of a million perfectly measured blades. Being June, the play-by-play of a baseball game echoes through every room, but not over the local rock station blaring out of a double-cassette stereo place high up on a shelf. Heís a giant of a man who will always rival the best professional athlete, will always be able to do the most pushups and will always give the best hugs whether itís hello or goodbye.
Since this Sunday no one with the last name of Krizansky has a flight booked to or from Colorado to Virginia, another phone call will be placed like most weekends before, and the conversation will be the same even if he has to call back because he is in the middle of washing his car and maybe my sisterís car. Heíll tell me about things, always pulling from a weeklong list full of moments when he thought of me, and nearly every time he was just thinking about me when he answered the phone. Iíll tell him only the things that wonít make him worry any more than he does on a daily basis about living where itís so cold and suddenly so hot and everything is on fire. Iíll tell him my truck is running like a truck of its kind should and thatís why I bought it. If there is enough time before his walk, sometimes thereís a story only a dad knows how to tell.
On Saturday, I couldnít help but tell my dad about these pesky fire ants it seems I am highly allergic to and canít seem to dodge while watching my plants grow where there is no lawn. He laughed, instantly knowing the discovery was made because I wasnít wearing shoes and that I would be absolutely fine toughing out the pain, he started in such a tone that is never mistaken.
ďDo you remember that time when we took you to the beach in Texas and we didnít even set the stuff down because you were already covered in jelly fish?Ē he chuckled. ďWe didnít even set anything down! I grabbed you out of the water and your mother grabbed Heidi and we had to go. We didnít set a damn thing down!Ē
I laughed, and remembered, too. Fearlessly, I crashed into the Gulf of Mexico with all the might a lanky little four-year-old could muster that late morning, and when my head rose above the water it immediately released a fierce scream for the tentacles of three Portuguese Man Oí War were wrapped around my body. My dad scooped me out of the water, and like a football cradled in his arms, I cried while we drove back home to Cheyenne Drive. It wasnít so much the pain that kept the tears flowing, but the disappointment that there would be no swimming that day. It was replaced with a childlike eternity that had to pass before returning to the beach to conquer those mean creatures.
It was no different on Saturday, but I didnít call my dad back to tell him that I suffered mightily on Mission Extinguish, and that this time all I really wanted was a big hug on his perfect lawn where there arenít any fire ants for miles.
Everyday the thought crosses my mind.
Happy Fatherís Day, Dad.† Iíll wear shoes. I promise.