Now, I get to tell you my favorite moment while I was in Texas interviewing my daddy.
As a prelude to readers who may not know the story, my daddy was a very VAULTED man. He never spoke any emotion. When he chatted on the phone, most conversations were short and spoke of two things, the weather and tractors and sometimes, fishing. But in the last two years, given time and nurturing, the vault has been slowly opening.
While I was in Texas, the vault opened and closed often. I never knew what day, what hour or even what minute my dad would choose to share. I made him my priority. I had some time with siblings, but even they knew my purpose for this trip was to spend time with him. One beautiful moment was when we got lost, Father’s Day Story.
THE BEST PART:
Twenty minutes before people came over for Father’s Day, my dad showed me a paper that had the AA Promise on it. I had seen the paper on the counter, but hadn’t really delved into it. It was brightly colored sunshine orange, and I briefly scanned it. Following intuition, I knew that my dad was showing me this paper for a reason, so I turned the video camera on it and started reading the promises out loud. I read through the entire document so I would have a recording of the paper in case he didn’t want me to have it. Again following my intuition, I was urged to ask him specific questions.
I asked dad what it meant to him when it asked “not to regret the past.” My dad sat back in his chair and began to tell me how the past was a teacher. Upon looking at my dad, he was relaxed and open and telling me straight up how he felt! I wanted to turn the video camera on him, but this action usually caused him to act goofy and uncomfortable and he would make funny faces instead of talking, so I left the camera focused downward so I could at least tape record his words.
On to the next questions: “No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.” Explain this section to me dad. My dad was really engrossed in speaking now and began talking with his hands, which I don’t remember seeing him do…but I use my hands a lot when talking and celebrated that I knew where it came from! Dad was settling in his chair, so I settled back in my chair and began lifting the camera focus up, but still not directly pointing it at dad. He hadn’t noticed too much and was still engrossed in conversation.
Finally, I slouched down in my chair a little more and faced the camera full on and began asking him more questions. Explain the fear you had of people dad? What about your fear of economic security?
My dad didn’t notice the camera because he was fully engaged in answering the question. He understood these questions like the back of his hand. He had lived these questions and knew that his very life depended on him living these principles.
“We suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.” I watched my daddy’s faith and convictions unfold. He had followed his intuition too and knew these promises were vital to keep. And because he kept these promises, we could talk today. I had never heard these promises full on before, though I had attended Al-Anon meetings many times. Someone had told me once that the AA principles weren’t really being used much any more, and many people questioned how much those principles actually helped people in the past. I can tell you from what I’ve witnessed, and that’s more than with my dad, these principles saved some lives and some families, and I’m grateful for them. We continued with our conversations, actually talking and breathing together. So raw. So real. So unpretentious. Me and my daddy.
Then a car pulled in the driveway and the spell was broken. But for these brief twenty minutes which will be a lifetime for me were very beautiful. And I remembered that it was because I was PRESENT in the moment and didn’t judge what happened or how it happened. And I fondly remember, it was just me and my daddy.