On Friday, I got up before dawn, as I often do. This time, however, it was not to write, but to listen. I walked two blocks to the clubhouse of a retirement home, where the local chapter of Toastmasters was in session. My father has asked very little of me in the six years we have lived across town from each other in the sleepy hamlet of Ojai, California. Today he wanted me to come hear him give a speech.
I came away both moved and proud, reflecting on our thirty-two years together. At my request, my father has posted the text of the speech, as well as an audio recording of him reading it, on his own website. In the speech, he mentions my losing a son, his almost losing me, and how our experience of the fragility of life has shaped us, and our relationship.
Needless to say, I will miss him when we leave.