As I travel on my own journey, I have come to understand that there is a rhythm to the events that make up a life, a journey, an initiation. I know that the moments that make up our journey appear at precisely the right time for us. I was reminded of this once again this past weekend. My husband Dan received a package in the mail that put him in touch with his dad. As I witnessed the events unfolding, I realized that if it had arrived at another time, he might not have been ready to truly receive the gift contained in that small package. I will let him tell you the story.
It’s funny how your memory gets jogged and the flood of images, sounds and smells can come back to you transporting you to a time when you first absorbed them. This weekend I had that experience. I returned home on Friday to Raleigh to find a package waiting for me sent by a friend from the old neighborhood.
In the package was one of my father’s notebooks. My old school friend, Randy found the notebook while relocating an office that my dad had once worked for. As near as I can guess this notebook had survived more than 75 years to finally come to my hands. The page title and notes indicated my dad had begun this notebook while in school and continued taking notes as he began his career in architecture.
The feeling of connection was strong as I held this small book in my hands and looked upon the fine precise lettering and sketches of his familiar handwriting. I was transferred once more back to the days when that signature was a coveted addition to my report card as an acknowledgement of my schoolwork. The connection was to my younger self and the feeling of comfort I got remembering this man who gave me so much.
In thinking about these memories I remember the smell of aftershave, the scent of cigars, the images of him working freelance to make a little side money to cover those extra expenses that always seemed to be needed. I am strongly indebted to the lessons he gave by his example and how they shaped me and my relationships with Nancy and our kids.
These bittersweet memories filled my weekend as I paged through old estimating guidelines, sketches, and notes from his art history lessons. His careful notes in the margins of the cost guides reminded me of his disciplined and principled nature. Seeing these now I could acknowledge that he passed much of these same qualities down to me in my career. It was like he had reached out to me where I am in my journey now.
My father passed away in June of 1977, grief has mellowed into memories of his smiles, his cantankerous nature, and his opinionated rants. We had a house of love, a childhood of bumps and bruises and a dad who showed me how to be a man, raise a family and build a simple meaningful life based on hard work and dedication. Thanks Dad.
Dan Loeffler Guest Blogger
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