Monday, March 17, 2014

My Father's Face

I got up earlier than usual today. Jilda and I both had doctor appointments, so I slipped out of bed and jabbed the brew button on the coffeemaker with a sleepy finger before heading to the bathroom to get ready.

As I splashed hot water from the sink on my face to shave around my beard, steam fogged
the glass, so I wiped it with the heel of my hand. 

Once the mirror cleared, I leaned in close to get a better look and realized I was shaving my father’s face. 

The thought took me aback for a moment. So many times as a kid, I saw my lather-faced dad lean in close to the mirror scrunching his face this way and that to get at all the hard to reach places.

Last week, the title of my column was things get older, but the focus was on “things” and not people. Seeing my father’s face in my foggy mirror made the fact clear that I’m getting older, too.

I’m within a few days of how old he was when he died in May 1986. That’s a sobering thought.

The question that comes to mind for me is: Where did the time go? I can read back through my journals and look at the thousands of pictures that document my life, and know I wasn’t magically teleported by the mirror from 1964 until today, but it doesn’t seem as though it’s been 50 years.

Another piece of evidence that shows my age is an article I read today about the Ford Mustang turning 50 this month. 

I remember seeing my first Ford Mustang in late March 1964. 

I was in junior high school at Dora, and one morning as I walked toward the concession stand, which stood at the side of the old stone gym, I saw the Mustang glide up the hill and back gracefully into a slot toward the end of the parking lot.

The morning sun glinted off the front bumper for an instant and it was almost like the flash of a Kodak Brownie camera. Even today, that image is as clear as a picture from my photo box. 

Apparently I wasn’t the only person to notice it because by the time I reached the end of the lot, there were a dozen other guys drawn toward that metallic blue beauty.

It was stunningly beautiful to me and unlike anything I’d ever seen. I fell in love with that car.

The picture in the mirror and the Mustang memory were solemn reminders that life is short. 

When I look back, most of the things I wrote on my bucket list 10 years ago are still there hanging on my office wall. Very few of the things have been marked off the list.

Someday has arrived. 

I think if my dad were alive today, he’d be the first to say, “Son, time gets away. You need to do the things that are important to you now.”


  1. I could say "Boys and their toys" when you describe your love of that mustang. But I think we all have things in our past that we loved and wishes for! You and I have a same love and good memories of our Dad's who passed way too young. My Dad loved life and he did many things that he enjoyed. I had a nice long talk with him the day before he died. He told me he wasn't afraid to die..he lived a good life. But I'm sure he would also say to do the things that are important, that bring happiness. I hope you get the chance to do all that's on that list Rick. Somehow I think you will.

  2. I worked for 10 years at my family's business, Larry's Thunderbird and Mustang. Believe me, there are many, MANY boys who are in love with those Mustangs. How nice that you have all of those memories of your dad - they are precious. I think it's important not to put off doing those things on your list. Do them when you can, before the days comes when you're not able to. We thought we had so many more years with my husband's dad, but he left us just a month ago. It makes me happy to think that he and LaMar's mom have spent their retirement years camping and fishing and doing the things they love to do.

  3. I believe that's exactly what he would say. My Rick had to have double bypass surgery a few years back, and as I sat in the waiting room praying, I knew when he was back on his feet again, we were going to start traveling and doing all the things we talked about for so long, but hadn't done so far. I knew as they opened his chest and held his heart in their hands so they could fix the valves necessary to his health, that now was the time to do everything we dreamed of over the years. We were being given a second chance, so that's what we're doing now!

  4. I've been thinking the same thing... when did I become my mother? The time to do things are now.. awesome post ;-)

  5. We really do see our father's faces in the mirror eventually don't we? Or our grandfather's/ I see my grandfather's face all the time. I have his eyes and his nose.

  6. Love the picture and the '40's GM car........

  7. I look in the mirror and shave my mother's face. What? Oops! I didn't mean to reveal that I have facial hair. Willy Dunne Wooters has a red 'stang. Have I mentioned that before? If I have, it was to make you feel jealous as many times as possible.


  8. Dear Rick, I so agree with your Dad, we need to be good ourselves and do as much as we can on our "Bucket List." I want to do those things that will give me the best memories to carry into my aged years. Peace.


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