I tend to be antsy by nature. Some might say I'm a bit tightly wound. It's true; I can identify with a nervous Nellie or a worrywart and I often have the wiggles. I think I get that from my father- the wiggle part anyway. He was pretty laid back in so many ways that I am not, but he wasn't good at sitting still. A funny thing about my dad is that he survived a war and a commercial plane crash but he couldn’t beat cancer. He died just before his 57th birthday; that was ten years ago now.
During the final months of his battle he could not find sleep. In the middle of the night my step-mother would find him in the kitchen whipping up pineapple upside down cakes- an attempt to hush his mind. He wasn't one to easily surrender. Not to sleep. Not to death.
I, too, find myself restless. I often lie in bed at night with my mind on fire, my body struggling to be still, my eyes refusing to stay closed. I imagine my father shuffling around in his kitchen, wearing his retirement uniform of faded denim shorts and a sleeveless cut-off shirt. His last chapter was spent in Florida where he eagerly adopted a style of beach bum chic. I can't say it was my favorite style, but he always looked good to me. There was something about his big, mischievous grin and deep dimples that drew you right in. His personality was vibrant, big and booming. His spirit was undeniable.
In death we can sometimes deify those we have lost; that is not my intention. My father, just like me and anyone else I have ever known, was not perfect. But he was the beginning of my life, a section from my history and he will remain a part of my legacy. I only wish I'd thought to ask him for his cake recipe.