As my brother tells it, I was following him as was my wont. Whatever my big brother did, I wanted to do also.
Running on the rocks beside the roaring surf of the Maryland coastline? Yes and yes. And just as you’d suspect, my shorter legs did not serve me well in keeping up with my big brother. In fact, the story goes, I tripped and fell tumbling headlong for the sea and that could have been, probably would have been, the end of me — I imagine myself swept out in the tides embrace — had not my father heroed me.
Daddy saved me — ran like a madman as he saw first the impending disaster, then the slow motion actuality of me tripping and the start of my tumble to the sea. He caught me by the scruff of my dress at neck and the hem of my dress at knee and threw me over his shoulder as he fell himself on the rocks breaking his leg but stopping his own fall into the hissing cauldron of waves by holding on to the granite outcrop with arms so big and strong I felt, as I lay bleeding from my fall to sharp safety, that he could hold the sky up with those arms, he could beat the sea with his fists and subdue its wild waves.
My Daddy saved me. He broke his leg in doing so and at the same time some restraint in me that had been in place broke also, let loose, and ever since and ever after I still find myself, I will find myself, running on the rocks.
Happy Father’s Day!
Happy Father’s day to all the little girl’s heroes and grown up daughter’s dads, the fathers of sons young and old. A father shapes and influences his children in countless ways. Even his absence will leave its mark.