Thoughts on the Swing

Phantom Pain

Bud was my father-in-law. He was most definitely what you would refer to as a bad-ass. When I first started dating Suzanne I soon found out he had 3 sons from his first marriage that would have happily despatched me on his say so. The fact that I am here today is either a testimony to his tolerance or to my ability to conjure endearment. I’m not betting on the later.

He became a father-figure to me just like he did to so many in his 86 year run. As flawed, as he would be the first to admit, as he was, I can’t imagine a better example of a man.

We laid his ashes down today next to Fluffy. I’m not one who imagines a lot about heaven but I hope, if it’s there, it’s not as perfect as they say. I hope it’s just like Bud. Not perfect, but as good as you can be. The intent is enough for me.

In the gathering today after the rain-soaked ceremony I heard some stories I’ve never heard before. Like how Bud’s oldest son was a friend of Steve Prefontaine and worked in a little shop in Eugene making those waffle shoe soles that spawned Nike. And how Bud kept a diary of notes… not so much about feelings as about tic marks… things he did… the number of fish he caught. And about a tragedy, he experienced and grieved about nearly all his life.

Bud never gave advice… not really. He just listened and shared examples; the good and the bad ones he lived. He didn’t apologize but he would readily say “I wasn’t perfect”. When you think about it, that is a breath of fresh air when it comes to statements. Especially when it comes from someone you have learned to trust.

So this little poem just came upon me this evening. I hope it does the man justice because I’m sure if there is a way for him to come back and poke me with that stub arm one more time… well he’s most likely the one who would find a way to do it.

for Bud

Phantom Pain

Sometimes it’s an itch
You cannot scratch it
Because it’s a memory
But it’s there and it itches

Sometimes it’s an ache
Rubbing won’t sooth it
Because it’s a memory
Detached somehow clinging

Sometimes it is guilt
Something in the past
More than a memory
A scar no-one can undo

Sometimes there is nothing
But living, loving and trying
Atonement is like a hammer
Building upon a foundation

Of Phantom pain

For Bud
A one-handed tire man
My father-in-law
My friend

© db October 19, 12019

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