by Lillian Csernica on May 12, 2013
Day 12: What do you miss? (a person, a thing, a place, a time of your life…)
I miss my father. Daddy took a fall in the snow and ended up in the hospital. He’d been a long term smoker, so when he developed pneumonia and his lung collapsed, there wasn’t a lot the doctors could do to save him. The worst part about this for me was being here in California while Daddy was in a hospital in the Midwest. I was carrying Michael at the time. It wasn’t a good idea for me to fly, so I couldn’t rush out there and be with Daddy. Thank God I grabbed the chance during a phone call to tell Daddy we planned to name his grandson Csernica. Donald was my father’s first name.
When I think about my childhood, and the time I spent with my father after my parents divorced (I was eleven), I’m pretty sure Daddy had no idea what to do with a daughter. That’s OK. He taught me to fish and play poker and go bowling and shoot pool. This was back in the days when pinball machines were still only a quarter. Oh, the contests we had to see who could win a free game! Most of all, I miss going to the Tastee Freeze and getting one of those big soft-serve cones dipped in chocolate. Daddy drove a stick shift. He taught me how to shift gears so he could hold his ice cream cone with his free hand. There were hot days when we ate our ice cream too fast and got the dreaded “brain burn.” The expressions Daddy would get when that happened were hilarious.
My sister and I flew back to Ohio together for the funeral. Later, when Michael was eight months old, Chris and I went to Ohio to visit my father’s family and make sure my grandmother got to see my father’s first grandchild. All of my aunts and uncles gathered to meet Chris and Michael, along with my army of cousins.
I miss what Daddy would have said when I called him to tell him I’d sold my first novel, a pirate adventure with tall ships and sea battles. My father was a twenty year Navy man. We would have talked about sloops and schooners and frigates and galleons and brigantines for hours.
I miss knowing what Daddy would have said if I’d ever taken the time to ask him why he loved the ocean so much. That was clear from more than just the Navy. Daddy loved to go out on fishing charters, or just sit at the end of the wharf with a cup of coffee and a cigarette. I remember one day when I was eight years old, watching him sit on a stone jetty looking out at the waves. With my adult mind, I see him looking like a monk in meditation.
I miss you, Daddy. God willing, one day I’ll see you in Heaven.