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.

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The Traveling Dad

     For probably a couple of years before my Dad passed away, I had tried to get him a copy of “The Traveling Wilburys” Vol. 1, the collaborative effort by George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and Roy Orbison.  My father was a huge music buff of all types of music, from current rock and roll, to jazz and rhythm and blues and I knew he would have loved this music.  However, during this time, the music had gone out of print when the group’s contract with Warner Brothers ended and the rights went to George Harrison and the music was never reissued before his death in 2001.  So I had no luck finding him a copy.  Now, they have been in print again for some time.

     My boyfriend, Tom, had an old copy of the group’s first CD which was stored in a stack of others against the wall in our home office waiting to be filed away.  One afternoon, not too long after my Dad passed away, I went into the office and found “The Traveling Wilburys” CD lying in the middle of the floor.  I looked to the stack against the wall and it was undisturbed.  There was no way it could have dislodged itself from within the stack and “rolled” (in its case) over to the middle of the room.  I questioned Tom and asked him if he had gotten that CD out–no he hadn’t.  I was dumbfounded as to how it happened and then realized that it was Dad again–paying me a visit–letting me know he was still around and that he knew of my intentions.

     He had visited me multiple times after his death, getting my attention by “bouncing” and then “stepping” across my bed at night just as I was going to sleep.  At first, I thought for sure my cat, Sita, had somehow gotten in the room and was pouncing up on the bed to have a snooze with me but no, that wasn’t the case.  I knew instinctively that it was Dad saying hello.


Pictures from Google Images


There you are in black and white

A photo taken posed for the camera

You’re eyes locked with mine.

After you died we were gathering pictures

For a collage to celebrate your life.

I stared at this photo and started to cry–

I wanted to see some kindness there.

I said to my sister, look, don’t you see it?

It’s there in his eyes–it’s there I just know it.

But as I studied it closer, I saw the truth–

Your eyes mirrored back to me the empty,

Shallow space I had always encountered.

What was it that had held you so closed?

What had etched and chiseled the pain

On your heart so deeply and fixed

That you couldn’t feel ours?

You freely shared your depression and darkness

And your deep regret for the life of your choosing.

As I grew older my hate softened to sorrow as I realized

You weren’t capable of being the someone I wanted.

In the shortened span of time at your ending

You remained firmly entrenched in your narcissism.

It was our folly we looked for something more.


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