Last night something happened to me that happens about two or three times a year -- I dreamed about my late father.
In this dream he was at my Uncle Henry's house, playing pool. Uncle Henry has this grand old antique pool table ... mahogany with a gold felt surface ... makes you feel like you ought to be wearing tweed and smoking a Cuban cigar in it's presence. Anyway, Joe (my father) was there and he challenged me to a game of pool and we played. And while we played we talked about my work and who I should vote for in the coming election and how I was treating my wife and what were the prospects for the Red sox and Patriots this year and all kinds of other things ... things that I imagine grown men talk to their fathers about.
Well, I woke up ... and for that first minute of fuzzy consciousness I thought the dream was real. I could still feel the smooth wood of the cue in my hand and hear the sound of the balls clacking together after each shot. And I could also hear the comforting sound of my father's voice. In that minute, the great incongruity of my existence seems to have been rectified -- all is right with the world and with me. Then, in the next minute, I realize that it was all just a dream and that Joe is still as dead as he has been for 34 years ... in that instant I completely forget what his voice sounded like though I had heard it so clearly just a little while earlier. Then comes the third minute and I'm mourning all over again -- it is the saddest minute (seconded only by the five or six minutes it's taking me to write about it here).
After a while I'll be over it. sometimes it takes a whole day, but I'll get over it. Then I'll be grateful for this and the other sporadic dreams ... they maybe the closest Joe and I will ever get to a "great reunion on the other side."
In the meantime, do me a favor: If your Pops is still around, maybe give him a call or something. Better yet, if he's close by, go pick him up and take him to the pool hall and shoot a little stick. Listen to him. Let him win. Buy him a beer ... and when you clink your bottles together propose a silent toast to Joe and me. Now that would be very cool.