To My Father
I wonder what was on your mind that day as you were leaning on a lamp post on Bourbon Street. You were a young, handsome Army man with your whole future ahead of you, waiting for a bus to take you home. The oldest child born during the Great Depression whose grandparents were immigrants; you knew the value of a dollar and loved your country.
You grew up in town and you were crazy in love with a beautiful girl whose family still had an outhouse and grew their own food. You would tease her and say she didn’t own a pair of shoes until she met you. Fifty years later, she would still smirk and roll her eyes when you’d repeat that tease…likely secretly thinking about smacking you with a shoe!
She married you on a beautiful day in June, surrounded by family and friends. Fifty two years later, those same people wept at your funeral.
Somewhere in between that day on Bourbon Street and the day you died, you must have done everything you ever intended in life, because you never complained that what you had wasn’t enough.
You never shook your head and walked away.
You never raised your fist and cursed bad luck.
You never ducked from difficulty, wishing it away.
Life wasn’t easy, but to you it was worth it.
But I couldn’t help but wonder….
If you had known that day that you would father eight children, but only see five of them live to grow up, would you still have caught that bus?
If you had known that at some point in time every one of your children would cause you to have a sleepless night, would you still have caught that bus?
If you had known that you would work a job that demanded so much physically from you for forty years and leave you with nothing but tired legs and a tiny pension, would you still have caught that bus?
The last night I was with you, twenty-seven days before you died, you said to us, your family;
“I lived a good life.”
Thank you Dad, thank you for catching that bus.
Michaela Hackman 2/22/2013