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Dad with Rascal

I recently found an audio tape that I made for my dad’s fiftieth birthday, when I lived on Guam. On the tape I talked to him and told him about the current events in my life and wished him happy birthday. My Guam students sang a song in Chammorro for him and then I played music for him. I chose a selection of songs I thought he would enjoy. What I never knew until today, thirteen years later was that my dad took the empty space on the back side of the tape and created a return message for me.

It was an afternoon at my Grandma Dorothy’s house where my dad and my (then) young cousins played the game of Clue. It was a boisterous afternoon, but the chance to hear my dad’s voice… 30 or 40 minutes of life, when he was well and happy was a poignant reminder of how much I still miss him. It was so good to hear daddy’s voice, not that it was easy amid three pre teen girls bickering over a game.

Yet there were clear moments of my dad’s voice and even a few lines of conversation directed at me, telling me he hoped I enjoyed the tape and that I was probably better off enjoying my day where ever I was (Guam) rather than in the chaos of listening to three pre teen girls babble and bicker. I had to laugh. He who’d never really loved being with children, had come a long way in falling with love with these nieces he’d discovered, along with two half sisters and their families and his natural mother. He’d spent many years searching for his natural mother and now that he’d found her he was enjoying a new phase of his life with the love, laughter and chaos of children around two Sunday’s a month. The tape made me smile and cry. Dad was happy, he treasured the moments of his life and I treasure hearing the sound of his voice once again, even briefly.

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