Friday, December 5, 2014

December 5, 1975

Memories of a December Day
 
It started like any other day,
and could have ended in the usual way,
and almost did.
Except for one incident,
warranting nothing more than a brief mention,
on the radio news.
(after all, it was a gory…
story).
But it meant more to me.

Time moves in a blur in my memory,
then reaches a point in time,
a day, an hour,
and slows suddenly, excruciatingly slowly.
Each minute as clear and painful as if
it happened yesterday.
And then a blur again
of sudden torture,
emotion, agony,
like a dream,
no,
like a nightmare.

We had a game that night,
basketball I think.
Erica and I,
in our skirts and sweaters,
jumping, shouting,
cheering on our team,
as if it really mattered
whether we won or lost,
as if it would have made a difference.

I remember I glanced at the clock.
It was 10:30 pm.
A critical time,
if I had only known.
But an unimportant time,
because I didn’t.


“Is that your Dad over there?”
Erica asked breathlessly.
My eyes strained across
the roaring gymnasium floor,
to the stands.
I picked out the figure,
similar, but…no.
A man in his late forties,
dressed in the blue shirt and pants
that identify the working class.
He’s carrying a steel grey lunch box.
Looks like Dad,
but no, it’s can’t be him.
It’s only 10:30.

He won’t be home till midnight.
Or so I thought.
I could have said
No, I don’t have a father…
if I’d known.

Our team scored,
we jumped into action.,
but the game was over.
I looked back to the stands to check again.
A chance to see.
Maybe he’s off early?
(He was)
Maybe the mill broke down?
(It did…
but not in the usual way.)

He was gone.
In more ways than one.
And at that moment, I knew only one way.
Probably someone else’s father,
picking up his son, or his daughter,
taking them home, congratulating,
or not,
weary from work,
happy to be home with his family.

We went home.
It was 10:50 pm.
Mom, my sister and brother,
watching a movie on TV.
“It’s Planet of the Apes,
come and watch”
So I sat,
half changed into my jeans.

The phone rang and I answered it.
“You get it, Barb, this is the important part.”
But so was the phone,
if they’d known.
It was for Mom,
but it was late so I lingered near,
to hear,
to be sure.
I watched my mother’s eyes grow wide with terror.
“It’s Daddy—“

I ran to the neighbours.
Banging on the door, my blouse.
half buttoned, screaming.
They thought I’d been raped
If it had only been that,
instead of…
Daddy.

Back to the house,
me and my support team.
I knew that Mom would need someone,
that I wasn’t going to be able to help.
The police were in the driveway,
when we arrived.
Mom collapsed when she saw
“N.O.K.” on the young officer’s clipboard.
Next. Of. Kin.
“This is the second time I’ve had to do this tonight.”
He was apologetic, uncomfortable.

My mind was spinning, everything became a blur.
I don’t remember someone actually saying the words,
that he was dead,
not even the usual euphemisms.
All I heard was “freak accident”,
“He never knew what hit him”
“Thank God there was no pain.”
But how did they really know?



“It happened about an hour ago.
about 10:30 pm”, they said.
What took them so long?
I still don’t’ understand.

There was an inquest,
to determine who was to blame.
After all, he had asked repeatedly for his “box” to be raised.
It’s not safe, he’d said.
A log could just split,
and come flying through the glass and…
…and crush a man,
his family,
his friends,
his community,
and
his daughter.

They decided it was no one’s fault,
but they raised the box,
just in case.


By Barbara Park


Dedicated to my father, Mel Park, who died in an industrial accident on December 5, 1975. I was fifteen.

ETA: I can't remember when I wrote this.  I think it was within a few months after he died but i tmay have been any time in the first 5 years.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

November 30, 2014 - Best Laid Plans

As you know, the motto of my blog is "It's never too late to be what you might have been".

I was watching a movie I purchased online this month that follows six people walking the Camino.  It's called "Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago" (As an aside, it's an excellent movie about the Camino and as a bonus, one of the older guys is from Kelowna - click the link for more information and learn how you can purchase the video here for a paltry $12 and help this independent film maker.) 

Anyway, the final song of the movie is called Best Laid Plans by a singer-songwriter from Portland OR, Tyler Stenson.  I loved this song, I love his voice, I love the harmonies, and I love the lyrics.  They speak to me.  They invigorate me.  And they allow me to forgive myself when I fail.

"That which might have been, can yet still be"  ~Tyler Stenson




Best Laid Plans
by tyler stenson © 2010 -- ASCAP

Best laid plans fail
And wrong winds catch sails
But that don't mean you lay down
And lose your boat to the treacherous sea.
No, you must believe:
That which might have been, can yet still be.

I've seen a beautiful sky turn gray
As I stood by watching weather change
But that don't mean the Sun is long-gone
And all of our Hope should leave.
No, you must believe:
That which might have been, can yet still be.

The greatest place ever known fell down.
It was the Fall of Rome--
But I've seen the Vatican and Coliseum
Under a summer's gleam
(And it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen)
So, I'm telling you,
That which might have been, can yet still be.

Those best laid plans fail
And those wrong winds catch sails
But that don't mean you lay down
And lose your boat to the treacherous sea.
No, you must believe:
That which might have been, can yet still be.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Twofer - November 22/23, 2014

So I forgot was too busy lazy to post yesterday.  I was actually too "busy" most of the day and then I finally remembered I hadn't blogged just as I was going to bed, and that's when the lazy part kicked in.  I had nothing to say anyway. I figured I would run today and then post about that instead.

Except I didn't. Run that is.

So the weekend went like this - I was really really tired all week, fighting a cold that the rugrats are spreading around the classroom. On Saturday morning, I had a sore throat and swollen glands, so I stayed in bed until noon and read one of my books. (The Rosie Project - which is hilarious, and an easy read, and reminded me a lot of Sheldon from Big Bang Theory).  I finally got up and ate around 1pm and then went out and ran some errands.  When I got home, I spent the rest of the afternoon/evening reading.  I finished Rosie and started The Secret Life of Bees - another page turner.

Last night I slept like a log (which is rare for me) and managed to sleep in until 9:30.  The sore throat had more or less disappeared but I took it easy for the morning and then I went into work for about 3 hours. By the time I got home, I didn't really have time to go for a run because I was taking my daughters out for a birthday dinner. 

Now it's almost 9pm and I am going to settle into bed early, watch Homeland and get a good sleep so I am prepared to fight the bugs this week. I am hopeful that I will go for a run tomorrow. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

November 20, 2014

It's not about the nail.

OK this video has nothing much to do with anything on my blog but I just thought it was so true and so funny, I had to post it. If you've ever read "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus", you'll know what I mean.