Black Sheep Thanks

“Thank you for doing that.” He said because I’d shoveled his walk.

“No big deal.”

“It is a big deal when you can’t do it yourself.”

I retreated to the garage to get the recycle and was swept up in a wave of emotion as I stood there crying in the cold. “Thank you, thank you, thank you.” On a loop in my head.

Thank me? No. Thank you. Here I am at a home away from home that feels so comforting to me, I want to take a nap every time I visit and plunk down on the couch for a second. You helped make it that way.

It felt like home from the beginning, when your family pulled me from the junk heap 23 years ago. When I had cancer myself and was utterly rudderless.  You dusted me off, stood me on my feet and were my will when my will was gone.

You took me in, with no questions asked, when my own dad, too scarred by his own history, told me: “We all have to die someday.”

Thanks for not getting (too) pissed when I smashed up your Toyota (just like a real son might do).

Thanks for using your skills as a handy man to constantly help us get and keep a foot hold.

Thanks for being my stand in dad, at my wedding, when my own disqualified himself with his racist comments and lack of “give a shit”.

Thank you for the hours and hours you put in on the bed frame, armoire and nightstands that you gave as wedding presents. These are the last things I have looked at every night for the past 18 years.

“Thank you” covers 1% of it, Dad, but it’s all I have.

You are sick now and no one will ever fill the void you are leaving as you go.  If I can see what I’m doing, I think I’ll go shovel again.


A Thankful Fish

The wind spurred the waves’ crest,
Dockside, five, in a giant vest.
Lifted into the cold St. Clair,
Sure glad you were standing there.

In a row boat,
On a small, numbered lake.
We would float,
And we would wait.

Sometimes we would ply
Big waters, glass eyes.
The prop, eaten by kelp,
Had you screaming for help.

The perch runs on Breast Bay,
Walleye season in May.
Bucket sitting, paying a price:
Feet become one with the ice.

Dad, you were far from a perfect being,
But we all have facets, is the thing.
Thanks for the line, thanks for the hook.
Thank you, mostly, for the time you took.