A year ago today, we lost my darling dad.
It is almost impossible to comprehend that an entire year has passed — 365 days that didn't include Gerald Eugene Davis, he of the lightning wit and generosity of spirit.
I didn't have a particular plan for how I wanted to spend this day, but so far it has been an almost perfect tribute to Dad. Mimosa (after waking me with a gentle hug) asked if she and I could have lunch at Summer Shack, one of our special places that the boys don't appreciate as much. I offered a deal: If she would help me work in the yard for an hour, I would indeed take her to lunch.
And so we did.
Dad and Mom were both avid gardeners, and we kids were forced into submission. I don't think any one of the three of us cares a whit about gardening, in our adulthood, but even though I generally hate yard work, I do like things to look nice.
I might have mentioned that I work on my yard in segments. Today's big task was the bank of hedges between my house and the house of my beloved former neighbor, Mr. Richard, who passed away a couple of years ago. The new neighbors are nice but don't seem to care about their yard at all; any grooming of our mutual hedge is done by me. (Which is no big deal.) After our endless winter, the hedges took quite a beating, and dead branches abounded. We also had dozens of volunteer trees sprouting up, which had to be eradicated.
After an hour, we'd only done half the hedge — and while it looks dramatically better, still, cutting off dead branches and pulling up trees is not as satisfying as hanging flowers and planting pretty things.
But God bless Mimosa; she hung right in there and worked for the full hour without a single complaint. Child labor is a beautiful thing.
(Li'l Martini was away this weekend at a LARP event.)
It reminded me that when I was 16, in an effort to get me to take more of an interest, Dad "gave" me the strawberry bed — and for the next two years, I faithfully planted, weeded, watered, picked, yada yada yada, loathing every minute of it, though I did enjoy the fresh strawberries.
This event became significant during my college years in one of my Brit Lit classes, when we read Sonnet LXIV by Edward Spenser, which includes these lines:
Her goodly bosom, like a strawberry bed . . .The class snickered at this, picturing most garden beds, which are, in fact, flat. Oh, snap!
How proud was I to be able to correct them. Strawberries are planted in little hills. "Her" goodly bosom was indeed curvaceous and bountiful.
How proud was Dad when I called to tell him that his agricultural bondage had at last paid off.
And Mimosa and I feasted like queens at Summer Shack, where I eschewed my usual meal of greasy spicy calamari (that's the exact title on the menu) and instead had a dozen oysters on the half shell, a treat my dad especially enjoyed. Mimosa even ate one. SO. YUMMY!!!
And we also called Mom to tell her what we were doing, and I cried a little. Mostly I'm fine and not sad all the time any more, but today is kind of a tough day.
I now plan to sit on my patio with a big glass of chardonnay, light a little fire in the fire pit, call my brothers, and then read People and Entertainment Weekly. Nothing like mindless pop culture and hooch to cure what ails you, that's my motto.
Off to do just that. Except, hmm, it may be starting to rain. Well, that's what my umbrella's for, right?
— Lady C, beloved daughter
I indeed lit a beautiful fire and called two brothers. Matéo trumps my oysters and yard work; he is at a Red Sox game, watching them be creamed by the Twins. "Only if I were watching the Giants," he said, "would Dad be happier." We had a great chat. We're both sad but doing okay, and I thanked him for teaching me how to build a fire.
Miguelito was not home, but I left a cheerful, loving message. Then I gazed at the fire some more, and sipped my Chardonnay.
Then I called Nurse Kathy, whose husband is a firefighter. "Tell J.C. that I totally get pyromania now," I said, and she roared.
A fire is a beautiful thing. I was going to call Mrs. Cynicletary next, who shares my pyromaniac tendencies, but the urchins from next door wandered over and demanded my full attention.
Fire, hooch, and urchins. Dad would have loved it.