|at my wedding, December 1989|
I remember that even as a little girl my father would take me with him pretty much wherever he went, if I wanted to go. Not that he went far from home or to, for today's standards, exciting places, but, oh, I loved them. Sometimes he just went to the little country store just a mile or so from my house to pick up a loaf of bread or a jug of milk. While he was on his errand, however, I went to the toy display. If you have ever been in a little country store, you will know what I mean...bags of marbles, green plastic army men, small dolls dressed in a nurse's outfit and the like. Sometimes I just looked, noting if there was anything new but sometimes I found some sort of treasure that I wanted. I don't think he ever told me "no" when I picked out something. Somehow, however, it was an unspoken rule that I could not ask for something every time I went. On those occasions when I met him back at the counter empty-handed, he often would pick up at the last minute a 1/2 pound Hershey's chocolate bar with almonds to take back home to share. Sometimes he would also place on the counter between the sweating milk and the bread a small tan paper sack of peanuts in the shell. He loved nothing better.
Sometimes he took me with him to visit his friends and I would search for interesting stones at the edge of a garden while they talked about the progress of their plants or organic bug deterrents (and that was in the day when that was virtually unheard of). I would also listen to their conversation, which was always more interesting than the conversation of my peers, full of practical advise and encouraging tidbits.
Sometimes he took me with him when he bought supplies, salted eels for his "trotline" (a thin rope that had bait at regular intervals that was put in the Bay to entice Blue Crabs from the depths closer to the surface for him to scoop up in his wire net) or bags of salt to keep them preserved, or something from the hardware store for his latest project. He was always doing something. Never in the hurried a-job-to-get-done manner that we are used to today, for it was more the process than the end result for him. I would say that was true for his life in general. He enjoyed each day for what it was, not focusing on the end result but thoroughly loving each moment along the way. That has been the greatest gift he ever gave me, for I see it unfolding in my own life, as I pass it down to my own children. In a simple way, passing down to them an inheritance from him.