Mystery of the Traveling Dad

There were a few occasions that I can remember vividly when my father went out of his way to let me know that he was thinking of me. He and I were alike in that we both loved to read. He was proud of my ability and that I enjoyed a good mystery like he did.

He was a traveling salesman for most of his working career. He loved to be on the road and chatting people up and I’m sure it was a relief for him to be away from home for a couple of days at a time and be on his own away from the duties of husband and father to six children.

Once, after being on the road for a few days, he returned home with a gift for me. He had brought me two Nancy Drew books. Nancy Drew was my idol and I had been reading the mystery series, written by Carolyn Keene (now whom I know is a pseudonym), for some time. I was thrilled at this gesture and have never forgotten the feeling of being singled out to receive this generous attention from him.

swallowtail kite swoops
golden rays light up the sky
moon glow calms the night

Join us at dVerse Poets Pub for Haibun Monday hosted by Lady Nyo, aka Jane Kahut-Bartels.

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50 Comments

  1. That’s such a nice story. That’s great that you valued books so much as a kid. What a beautiful haiku!

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  2. I too love Nancy Drew books and read all the books :-) How nice to singled out by your father by a special gift ~ Love the haiku ending too with moon glow calming the night ~

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    • Yes, it was a very sweet occasion and I think he enjoyed giving them to me as much as I did to receive them. Thank you, Grace.

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  3. What a wonderful haibun to remember and honor your dad.

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  4. What a great memory. :)

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  5. a lovely memory to cherish

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  6. I remember the Hardy Boys and the Nancy Drew series. I hope my children have similar memories of me.

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  7. My father was also away very often when I was a child, and always brought back something for me (but then I was the only child) from his exotic travels abroad: usually a doll dressed up in local ethnic garb. It’s funny how often we idealise the ‘traveller’, who on the whole has the easier job (as you say, there is equal parts relief and sadness at leaving the family behind), than the parent who is left at home to deal with the everyday.

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    • It was rare for him to bring us gifts as there were six of us and that’s what made it even more special I guess. Thanks for sharing your own experiences with a traveling Dad, Marina Sofia.

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  8. I LOVED the Nancy Drew books. My granddaughter (10 in Feb) has enjoyed them and folks have bought her books from used book stores. :)
    Absolutely stunning haiku!

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    • I love to hear that your granddaughter is enjoying them today, Lillian. Maybe when little Mira learns to read she will love it as much as her mother and grandmother do and we can pass on the legacy of Nancy Drew to her as well.

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  9. Geez, darling, that brought on the tears. I think your father and mine shared a lot in life.that haiku is marvelous!sofu of hop. l l

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  10. computer is screwing with me. That haiku is so full of hope and joy! Perfect!

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    • Well, I sometimes struggle with trying to find memories that were sweet between my father and I but there are a few that I cherish and this is one. That haiku represents the joy that I felt in receiving those books. Thank you, sweetie! xo

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  11. My father traveled for research to many exotic places and always came back with strange gifts… many of which I still have among my belongings.

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  12. It’s so interesting to get a glimpse into a happy occasion and the love of reading that you shared. For me, because I used to teach Millers Death of a Salesman, there’s a poignant link to that ever elusive American Dream.

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    • Yes, well the happy occasions were not as forthcoming as the unhappy occasions of growing up with that father. He struggled on a lot of levels and I understood him better from my adult perspective through more compassionate eyes than I did as a child. Interesting that you taught Miller’s play…such an intense view into a man’s identity and psyche.

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  13. So nice to have a father know what you liked and followed through with actions…I am another fan of Nancy Drew, so can relate….nice to keep these haibuns as a record.

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    • Yes, it was nice. There are several of us that enjoyed those Nancy Drew mysteries, Kathy. I so enjoyed the memories of your Grannie and her lovely farm.

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  14. Oh, Gayle, what a delightful story about your father and you. When anyone goes out of their way to make anyone else feel special or loved, it’s a kindness that leaves a signature on each person’s soul. <3

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  15. I think I learned my first vocabulary from Nancy,

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  16. Great memory!

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  17. My heart warms at your memory…..my dad traveled a lot when I was a kid, too, and he used to always bring me something special whenever he returned home. There is something profoundly powerful in that, especially for a child….in knowing you were thought of and loved enough to be remembered while apart.

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    • I think you’re right, C.C….it does make an impact when you’re remembered in a special way. There have been a few people who have commented that their fathers were travelers for their work too. Maybe that’s not so unusual.

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  18. What a beautiful memory and how thoughtful of him to bring you these gifts he knew you would love.

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  19. From one Nancy Drew reader to another…so special. That reading has made a difference in our lives, don’t you think?

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    • Another Nancy Drew reader…there’s been a few of us, Victoria. Yes, reading helped keep me sane and grounded as a child. It made an indelible difference in my life.

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  20. Lovely Haibun recalling a strong Father-Daughter bond. Powerful.

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  21. Rereading this….I loved Nancy Drew, too! I grew up in the countryside of NJ….and we had a literal one room library . It was the canal’s caretaker watch room…from 1832, much later fitted with wooden shelves. My closest neighbor, Sophie Bischoff was the librarian. She fed me the Nancy Drew books and Black Beauty…anything with horses. Nancy Drew was wonderful, a girl of adventure with a father (as I remember) who supported her completely.
    It was hard for me, also, Gayle to find good memories back then with the chaos of childhood, and having a kind drunken father and a mean sober mother, but my father did so what he could. I remember wanting to go to a dance in our elementary school..but the admission price was a quarter. It was much later that I found out that quarter was my father’s gas money to work. I still remember that and still feel adult guilt. My father is long dead, but he was a kind man…the parent that loved me. I come to your blog, Gayle, and I always can relate to your writings. Hugs!

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    • I always feel happy when someone can relate to something I’ve written…thank you for that, Jane. We do have some experiences in common although it was my husband who was the narcissus and probably a sociopath too. You were fortunate in that your father was a kind parent in spite of his alcoholism. The kindness from my father was a rare thing and I’m sure that’s why this is remembered so vividly by me. I too remember Nancy Drew’s father (a single father?) being very supportive of her sleuthing. I love Black Beauty too and so much more. Did you read any of Beverly Cleary’s books…”Beezus and Ramona,” etc. ? I’m sure that your father was happy for you to be able to go to the school dance. He would not want you to be carrying any guilt about that, I’m sure of it. Hugs!

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  22. What a beautiful memory.

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  23. nice emotional story, By the way, recently I had an amazing adventure road trip to the World’s highest motorable road, you may like to check it out : http://wp.me/p8p4rd-v9

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  24. Books are the best gifts a kid can possibly have ☺️ you had a beautiful time. Haiku I’m the end makes for a perfect closure.

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