Monday, September 17, 2012

17 Years Gone and a Charlie Horse

We had a nice time at Foci on Friday. We didn't push the limits of our abilities, we just had fun working on the skills we've acquired to this point. Some days it feels like I'm fighting the glass rather than working with it but not last Friday. It was a day of harmony between the glass and me. I like that. While I was there I was thinking of how the original plan was to wait until we're both retired before we began to dabble in glassblowing. I'm glad we decided to jump in when we did and I'm excited to begin pushing our limits more and getting better.

We ordered our first two glassblowing pipes last week and hope to have them with us when we return to the studio on Thursday. Fun! Foci has shop tools that everybody is welcome to use and they're just fine for where we're at but still, it will be nice to have our own pipes to work with especially during those times of the year when there are more illnesses present. Glassblowing tools don't come cheaply so we're acquiring them a tool or two at a time.

Saturday marked the 17 year anniversary of my father's passing. It's not an anniversary I typically remember. My mother will sometimes make mention of it as she did last Saturday when I phoned her. She never forgets and I'm fairly certain she observes the exact time as it comes and goes. I get that.

My dad.

Sometimes I'll calculate what the date would've been when my dad was the same age I am now. That date would've been November 19th, 1980. My father is within a few months of my age in this photo holding his grandson, Tristan. My folks were living on ten acres in the country near Farmington, the city where I work. My dad was less than five years away from being fired from his position as a financial manager with VTC, a company which had recently acquired the division of Control Data where he'd worked for much of his career. It was such a difficult time in our family's life as my dad didn't handle the termination well at all making mom's life so much less satisfying than it ever should've been by putting their world in a spin fueled by alcohol.

I remember how my mom talked about the moment he died in his hospital bed. The monitor alerted that his heart had stopped and an almost youthful appearance came over his face as if all of the stresses of his life had finally been done away with. And they had. My brother Bryan was there with her and closed my father's eyes.

I think about my dad some but not all that often. We were so much alike but we weren't close. It wasn't easy to get close to him although I know I tried to win his approval again and again but at some point I think I sort of realized that nothing I did was going to change our relationship. I was never going to be that guy who could work on cars or build things the way Keith and Tim could and for the longest time I felt like I didn't measure up in his eyes because of that.

There was a short time in my mid-20s when I felt resentful toward my dad for not being there for me more than he was when I was growing up. I was living in Huron, South Dakota at the time and wrote him a long letter detailing my thoughts but then I let go of those feelings and never again dwelled on them the way I had. You can't go back.

We made it out to the Renaissance Festival in Chaska Saturday afternoon. Tammy commented last year when we were there that we should bring Charlie along with us next time. And so we did. She put together the cutest outfit for him to wear the night before. She found a stuffed-animal monkey at the store and applied silver tape to it to turn the little guy into a knight in shining armor complete with a chopstick as a jousting pole and a shield. Charlie was transformed into Charlie Horse with a monkey on his back!

He got so many compliments out there and even had people wanting to take his photo. The heat and lack of clouds eventually took their toll on him so we relieved him of his rider after a couple hours and actually carried him the last 30 minutes. We had hopes of bringing him back with us again next year but I'm fairly certain this was a one-and-done proposition for him. He didn't seem to enjoy it nearly as much as we did. Hmmm.

Hey, Toby...

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