We’re all gonna be here forever
So mama, don’t you make such a stir
Just put down that camera
And come on and join up
The last of the family reserve
— the prophet lyle lovett
I was trying to work. It was difficult because of all the laughter coming from the next room.
Mo and her sisters were Zooming with their dad, the modern-day equivalent of paying a visit to the hospital except you don’t get to swipe the pie off the patient’s table while he’s not looking.
I know three things for sure in life:
● Tiger was a bad name for the Brady Bunch dog.
● Seattle is a rainforest, no matter what the sisters’ sunny backgrounds look like.
● These three girls loved their dad in a way that would make a fine Lyle Lovett song.
I couldn’t make out much of what they were talking about. Outings to Palouse Falls, the road to recovery, who was his favorite daughter. I’m guessing a three-way tie.
I remember reading that you should kiss your loved one goodbye each day just in case, because you never know if it might be for the last time. Our cat says that’s not true for her, thank you very much. Just leave some treats in the dish and she’s set.
He was a good dad. Mo and I were running today and she was telling me about some adventure they had on a river where they got stuck in a thicket of reeds, a snapshot from the album of stories over the years. They shared a lot of happiness.
I remember once when he came to Phoenix to go rock hunting. Mo didn’t have a rock hammer. By the time he left, she did.
She always wanted me to go with her dad and the peeps for one last trip to Palouse Falls. I think it’s the Shepherd family equivalent of Big Bend, but without the beer-drinking goat. Maybe we’ll all meet up there in the next life.
As this one wound down, they talked forever, three little girls and their dad in one last bittersweet family reunion. They laughed, they cried, they laughed some more. And then they said goodbye.
We’re all gonna be here forever. He’ll live on in Mo’s stories, told at our bench on the bird loop as we wind down from our runs. We’ll see a glimmer of his reflection on the water out of the corner of an eye. And Mo will always know how much he loved her, and she loved him. That has to be enough to last for an incarnation or three. She should probably keep her rock hammer, just in case,
It occurs to me that the name of their first dog was Muffin. And he was a guy dog, which tells you all you need to know about their family. Maybe Tiger wasn’t such a bad dog name after all. Apologies to the Brady girls.
Have a safe trip, Phil. We’ll miss you. See you at the falls someday.