NORMAN — Surrounded by cotton fields and decorated by large Georgia Oaks with hanging moss and tall pines waving gently in the south Georgia breeze stood my parents white, wood-framed house in Newington, Ga.
“Memory is a net. One finds it full of fish when he takes it from the brook, but a dozen miles of water have run through it without sticking.” — Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.
This time of year through Christmas, I pull in my memory net more than normal, for the treasures are there waiting to be rediscovered. The haul of fish soothes and comforts me.
I am thankful beyond measure for the joy of one particular day. Dad was extremely sick with prostate cancer.
I had flown in from Oklahoma to be with him. Death was just around the corner. Time was short. Every moment was special.
What I did not know, perhaps I thought I did but couldn’t quite grasp at the time, was just how painful this dreaded disease was for my dad. A few days after his death, I found a note in which he described his pain “as a hound-dog nipping at his heel every waking moment.”
Yet, on this particular day, he demanded that we get out, take a drive, get some breakfast, just father and son. It would be our last breakfast together.
We stopped at a local restaurant, and not long, he started feeling pain, shaking, and I immediately gave him pain medicine on his wrist. I wanted to take him home, but he would not hear it. No, he needed to stay.
Over breakfast, we shared thoughts on various Biblical scriptures, talked about the church, about eternal life and about family. We were open, no barriers, simply put, refreshing honesty. This was pure, quality conversation.
On our way home, he grasped my shoulder, gently caressing it with tears, and said, “I am so proud of you. I love you, son.”