He walks, gray haired, down my street. Ambling really. A white dog skips at his feet, and when the dog does his business, the old man stoops, then scoops. He wears a white hat, the man, and a kindness I agonize over.
Would my father stoop? Would he wear a white hat? Would he walk, step by step, down a suburban street, cajoling his dog? Would he wear plaid? White tennis shoes? Too large jeans?
He didn’t see me graduate from elementary school, junior high, high school, college.
He didn’t walk me down the aisle.
He didn’t hold his first grandchild, didn’t applaud my first book.
Most days I don’t think about it much. I’ve learned to live with the hole a Daddy leaves when he leaves earth for good. But seeing the stoop shouldered man, his gentle, slow ways, makes me long again for that blood-tie, that familiarity.
I shake the thought of the man from my mind as a tear forms. I tell it not to, but it puddles nonetheless. As brave as I can, I slip my hand into the Hand of the One who fathers me still.