Friday, June 17, 2011

Remnants of Papa

The last Father's day I remember with him: strolling along the waterfront piers for the annual wooden boat festival three years ago. A maze of planks and docked vintage boats, gleaming glossy in the partial sunlight, some evoking memories of Gilligan's Island episodes. Papa liked boats. Or maybe he liked the romantic idea of sailing off to faraway places, the quietness of the water, the pace of island life.

We always kidded him about his fascination with the Andy Griffith show's Mayberry lifestyle. He seemed out of place, several eras behind in our fast-paced, modern world. He needed a town where he could sit for hours on a rambling front porch, sipping iced tea with neighbors, reading, and talking to strangers passing by, telling stories and laughing at his own jokes, eyes twinkling crystal blue. He needed an old shop in a quaint downtown where people traded goods or services for merchandise and life didn't revolve around money and people didn't lock their doors or check their availability for dinner on their cell phones.

He owned a cell phone for all of a few months. To this day, I still have his number in my phone, unable to delete "Papa" from my contacts just yet. Maybe I'm not ready to delete the precious few traces of him that remain tangible.

The blue, hand painted chest I bought to hold treasures of him rests against a wall in the living room, piled with things we don't have space to store. Inside, his lefty baseball glove, cards I made him since I was a little girl, the memorial service program, a favorite picture of him, condolence cards, an empty canister of his favorite tea, notes he'd slip into my lunch bag with stick figure pictures of him, a sack of cashews purchased from an older man in Guatemala who reminded me of him, his reading glasses, a pocket knife, a book he gave me for Christmas scrawled on the inside cover with his handwriting and heartfelt words. More remnants of him.

Mom and I began a new Father's day tradition. We get out of the city for the weekend, leave sad memories behind, drive out to a small town that Papa loved and relax in a quaint bed and breakfast. We hop a ferry boat and travel to a small island for the day, fresh salted wind streaming around our faces, capturing memories in digital camera. We remember him. We miss him. We continue to love him. And we continue to live as fully as we can.


  1. oh, this is beautiful, amber. praying for you and your mom and sister and all of your family this weekend. have a sweet weekend away with your mom. with love...lauren

  2. I'd better get out of town then for reasons obvious... Have a great time too....

  3. Enjoy your time....and I'll pray for nice weather.

  4. Thank you Amber for the sweet memories of your dad. It brought tears to my eyes. Yes...I do miss him also. His laughter, his teasing ways and his tenderness. I don't know if he liked me calling him "Stevie" but I loved calling him that. He was a good friend and miss all the times we had with him, your mom and both you and Jenny. The Donais will always be a part of our family and I love you all.
    Have a great weekend away with your mom. Will be thinking of you.

  5. @ Lauren: Thank you for your prayers, friend! We had a lovely, quiet time away and enjoyed reminiscing about old memories. I hope you're well and thanks so much for reading.
    @PLZ: I hope your father's day was what you needed - I was thinking of you.
    @Talitha: Thank you for the prayers! Weather was typical of late, but cozy :)
    @Llena: I'm so glad that you carry these special memories of him and our family. He loved you and Brad so much and cherished the memories with your family, as we still do. Love to you all!