Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Ship To Shore

This is a letter my Daddy sent to me from the Indian Ocean when I was two.(There he is on his ship The Shenandoah)

Ship To Shore

I can hear my wind chimes singing a windy tune. The air smells of Autumn. My house smells of apples and cinnamon slowly bubbling in my blue Le Creuset pot, assuring me that indeed it is Halloween, and all is right in the world.  The early afternoon sun makes the upstairs warm as it streams through our violet sheer curtains. My cat is asleep at the foot of my bed. My children are downstairs preparing the house for me for our favorite holiday.They are stretching cobwebbs about the house and stair case.  My daughter is happily tossing creepy spiders onto the webbs.

I am constantly lobbying my husband to take me to my favorite apple orchard on Mount Hood. The one with the golden orbs of heirloom apples that  I like to make into applesauce and apple butter “I should have already gone” I lament. He knows how excited I get this time of year.  Mt. View Orchards is my favorite destination. This weekend he took me to celebrate Edelweiss. This made me over the moon happy.   We were greeted by the madonna of the farm in the cutest little Swiss hat with delicate embroidery. “I got it in Switzerland” Ruthie exclaims, comfortable atop her little tractor, ever the farm girl.  She poses for my enthusiastic husband who is fond of capturing the moment. And then, she says, “what apples are you after? “ The golden ones” I tell her.

We spent the next hour filling our red radio flyer wagon with golden orbs pluck from the tops of the trees with a special apple picking stick. My son started a game of getting the apple, because he also knows how excited I get this time of year.  I love the Autumn, it’s my birthday the day before All Hallows Eve.

My Daddy the sailor used to make my costumes. He would create something special every year starting at two and all throughout my elementary years.  His upholstery skills were put to good use in elaborate costumes..  He would start planning early on, around July.  He would say, “what do you want to be for Halloween?”  

The first year I was a bat.  I have always loved bats.  Their little fuzzy tummies.  Their love of the night.  The way they sleep upside down.  The intricacy of their wing structure. The many different kinds of bats in the world. My Daddy made my costume with all the things I liked, fuzzy tummy, check, intricate wing structure, check, imagination of a two year old, check.  I was ready for my first Halloween in Garden Grove, California.  I had my handy dandy candy bag, and I was ready to go.  There is this picture that is featured in our house’s Halloween display is a photo my Daddy took of me in my bat costume, you can see him in the shadow of the sunlight.  There is something I really love about it. It seems to me now that I have lived 29 years without him, a perfect representation of his presence in my life.  

As we enter into All Hallows Eve, I find myself reflecting on the spirit. Where do we go from here? Where did we come from? Where do our loved ones go?  Do we go with them?

On chilly days like this I love to put on my Daddy’s old brown plaid workshirt, take a walk, crunch the leaves under my feet, listen to my music, send prayers into the ethos and hope that in the sea of eternity, my messages still get through, ship to shore.

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