I am writing this on an iPad mini in an airport. I am on my way to bury my father in the ground of north Georgia.
I remember two things about him when I was a child. I was a boy and he and I were walking in hard brown sand on the shore of a stormy Adriatic Sea. The waves were tall and they frightened me. I walked behind him. I was small and I tried to walk in his footprints. I had to leap and still missed even though he was not a big man.
He took me golfing for the first time on a course at a military base. I don't remember where. He drove the ball to the first green and handed me an old putter with a wooden shaft. It was an antique even then. The hole was at least 35 feet away. I drained it. I never did that again despite hundreds of attempts throughout my life.
The putter is in my Santa Fe apartment now. My father never saw that apartment or even knew I lived in it.
I saw my father hit his last golf ball ever. He was famous as a young man for mammoth drives. He shortened the course as they say. His last drive ever was on a course called honey creek. The ball went maybe 35 feet. He handed me the club and I put it away. He sighed. I don't play golf any more.
My father wanted to be a writer. For years he worked on a single story. It was called A Clap of Thunder a Streak of Lightning. He wrote on a long yellow legal pad. He never finished it as far as I know.
I have written maybe 15 stories in my life and two novels. I finished them but have never been any more of a success then he was.
My father was an excellent basketball coach. He was a winner but he never won a championship. It bothered him. He came close once but a player made a last second mistake and it cost him his one chance. He forgave the player. I don't remember him ever not forgiving someone.
My mother and father have been married over 60 years. They were very committed.
I have been divorced twice.
My mother is so ill she will not see him buried. I will. This irony disturbs me. It makes me realize that life is just life and can be blindly cruel but it does so with no feeling either way.
My father believed in God. I do too. I guess God cam be blindly cruel too.
My father is being buried in Canton, Georgia. I have never been there. I am not sure he ever went there either. But it is where he ended up.
If I am ever buried someplace I hope the caretaker will not allow any weeds on my grave. I know I won't care either way but the image of weeds on my grave has bothered me all of my life. I may have thought about it on the shore of the Adriatic. I don't know. All I remember is trying to follow in my fathers footsteps.