I think about you a lot. I try not to think about the bad times, but it's so hard for me to let those go. What's sad is that it's even harder to remember the good times. But I like to try.
I remember you always loved to laugh. Remember sitting around the dinner table one night and you had some ribbon you used as a bow tie to imitate a man and in a deep voice would say "YOU MUST PAY THE RENT" then move the ribbon to your head and say in a high squeaky voice "But I can't pay the rent" again and again? It seems like a really silly thing to do; not so funny to me now. But then we were all hysterical. All of us sitting around the table laughing and laughing so hard that tears streamed down our faces. I don't know what was more funny, your bad imitations or the fact that you were pretending to wear a bow in your balding head. We were so loud at dinner that afterward when I went to play outside with Danielle, she asked me what the heck we were laughing at.
Remember all of our camping trips to Lamoine? Those trips are by far the best memories I have of my family growing up. I loved to be there and so did you. I remember you would get up just after sunrise when the tide was out to go dig clams with your brothers. J, A, and I would join you later on in the morning to "help". But mostly we just did our own thing haha. Remember the big lobster bakes we would have later on in the afternoons? Lobsters bought right off fisherman's boats, fresh clams dug that morning, and fresh mussels too. Plus any fish we happened to catch that day grilled right over the fire. I loved sitting there, surrounded by your mom and dad, your brothers, their families, and us. The sun beating on our backs, a hint of ocean smell in the air. Everyone talking and laughing with lobster butter dripping off our chins.
Remember your garden? You loved to play in the dirt. You were always so proud when your plants started to grow and we would have fresh veggies for dinner. "It doesn't get any fresher than this", you used to say. I especially loved the fresh green beans I would help you pick and stem. I'm pretty sure I would always eat more than I would get ready for dinner! Someday, I hope to have a garden as good as yours.
Remember playing Christmas carols on your trombone with your "cronies"? You were so good. The four of you together were great. I would love to go with you and listen as your brass quartet traveled around to store fronts, parking lots, and hospitals playing all the Christmas classics. None of you ever did it for money. You did it to put smiles on people's faces. I definitely had a smile on mine.
Remember the fish hook? Haha...I will never forget that night when we were packing to leave the next morning for a camping trip. I felt very responsible because mom was at work so I was in charge of helping you pack up the camper and make sure we didn't forget anything. I don't know how I managed to do it, but while setting down a fishing pole in front of the car, the fish hook went clear into my index finger. How I screamed! I'm sure the entire neighborhood heard. You immediately ran over to see what was wrong. After surveying the situation, you took control, running to get some scissors and cut the line to bring me inside. You sat me down on the couch; I was crying so bad. You looked at my face and I could see you looked so worried. You told me that you were so so sorry but you had to just pull it out, there was no other way to do it. I became frantic, hysterical almost. You told me that we were going to take a deep breath together and on the count of three you were going to do it. After you did, you immediately wrapped my finger in a paper towel to catch the blood and pulled me to you. You were crying then too because you felt so bad for hurting me. Although this wasn't my most shining moment, what I remember most is how you took care of me.
Those are good memories, Dad. We had some good times together, as much as I sometimes try to deny them. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I miss you. And I forgive you. And I'm sorry. I'm more sorry that I never told you when I had the chance. I hope that you forgive me.
I love you.