Thumbs up daddy!
I remember the day vividly, like it was yesterday. Wow! Can a story ever start with a more cliché statement? But I really do remember the day somewhat vividly.
I was playing with other estate kids just outside the gate leading to our house. I must have been six or eight (or thereabouts) – so much for the vivid memory, huh? We were playing and running and hiding and seeking and climbing walls and trees and stuff…screaming, shouting, crying…you know, being kids? I don’t know how it happened but one minute I was laughing while running around, and the next I was in so much pain, crying my heart out. One of the other kids had banged the heavy metallic gate against my fingers and my right thumb was bleeding like hell!
I remember looking at my fingers in horror, like I was seeing a horrible scene from a movie. I saw some white flesh one minute and the next, my whole thumb was covered in blood, and slowly, my whole hand. It was painful. It was excruciatingly painful. I screamed, scratch that, I wailed like only a six (or eight) year old could.
My father was around that day. Lucky day, coz he hardly ever was. He came out to see what had happened and saw me wailing as I stared at my finger in disbelief. I ran to him and stretched my hand out to him as if to say “Look what has happened to me daddy!” but I did not utter any words. I couldn’t. I was crying. I was in pain! That or I just could not believe that all that blood was coming out of my tiny little finger. I thought I was dying. I thought I was done. I thought that that was THE END!
Dad held me in his arms and tried to shush me to no avail. I was inconsolable. He then washed my wound and that is when I realized that my thumb nail had peeled entirely save for a small portion that held it to my thumb. I cried some more. He took a piece of cloth and tied it over the wound. I guess the sight of a hanging finger nail caused 60% of the pain. When I still couldn’t calm down, he went to the kitchen and came out with a carrot stick. To this day, I don’t understand the genius behind this but he gave me a carrot to munch on. Maybe because he had no lollipop on him? Maybe because for the life of him, he just wanted me to shut up? MAYBE he did it to take my mind off the incident and the pain, and the glaring finger nail that was hanging by a ‘thread’ so to speak?! Wait, maybe he did it just because he was at a loss not knowing what to do in my mother’s absence?
Either way, I remember him holding me so close. The closest I can recall ever being to him, as he patted my back to console me. I remember feeling love oozing from him to me and I had half a mind to stay there, in his arms, forever. I knew at that moment that everything would be ok, that I would survive this.
The wound healed and I grew back another nail on my right thumb. But that is one incident I will never forget because as a child, I never had such moments with my father. He was busy, or he just did not know what was expected of him or if he did, he didn’t know how to create other ‘moments’ with me.
He fathered from a distance, with austerity and unrelenting firmness. We never held conversations on how school was, or who my friends were or what I would like for my birthday.
Never the less, he is the one man I call Dad, and my blood is full of his genes. I got his hands and feet and his quiet demeanor. In my adult life, I still hang on to his name because he is my anchor. I call him father because to me he is the only man in the world who rightfully lays claim to that title. I am the fruit of his loins.
Come father’s day, it therefore follows that I should salute one Mr. Murrey.
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY GENTLEMEN!