It was just a quick glance, but then a swift repeat. It was a little like looking into the face of my daddy. Even though I knew that was impossible, the longing was strong enough that I had to work to hold the tears away.
John was sitting across the table from me at IHOP where we were enjoying a Friday morning breakfast in the midst of running errands. We had already been to do our early voting before dropping some paperwork off at the bank in an effort to try to speed along official signing for the refinancing of our mortgage. I said, “There is a man who looks so much like my dad. Maybe you will be able to see him, too. He is just walking by. He looked at me and then he looked again so maybe I reminded him of someone he knows, too.” I smiled as I added, “Maybe a daughter.”
John said, “Yes, I see him and I see what you mean. He’s earthy.”
I added, “Not a businessman, in a suit.”
John then asked, “What year did your dad die?”
“1967. I was twenty-seven.”
“So your dad was thirty when you were born.”
We each sat with our own thoughts as we continued our meals.
Breakfast finished, we got up to leave and to my surprise, faced the aforementioned man-reminder-of-my-daddy. John had been sitting where he had the advantage of knowing this all along. Having never met a stranger, he had made a plan. I was behind him when he stopped at the booth where the man sat aisle side. A young woman was on the inside of the bench seat to his left. Across the table from them sat a gray-haired woman I assumed to be his wife. John said, “Sir, I want to thank you for coming into IHOP today. You reminded my wife of her dad who passed away in 1967.”
At the same time the young woman beside him said, “Ooh,” in a soothing manner, the man’s pleased response, directed to me was, “I hope you have good memories.”
I assured him, “Oh, I do.”
“Then I am glad I helped,” he said.”
I thanked him as I told the family to enjoy one another. I didn’t feel the need to remind them that life was unpredictable. My hope for that young girl was that she be able to enjoy her daddy longer than I enjoyed the company of mine.
The comfort for me when battling the tears earlier was in the knowing that Daddy is safe in his eternal home. Still, there are times when there is that great longing: I’d like a hug from my daddy.
© Marilyn Sue (Libby) Moore 10-29-2010