Imperfect Moments

Pierre Fontenot Thursday, October 5, 2017 Comments Off on Imperfect Moments
Imperfect Moments

I bought a patch of acres, last mailbox at the end of the road.  I was out there doing manual labor, for free, sweat dripping, love bug swatting, having a great ole time…but I was alone, and what I needed was one other person to be there, to confirm, that yes, this really is a mighty fine thing…

…and I thought of my father.

He’d have gotten it.  More than any person I’ve ever known, he’d have gotten it all, the what it meant to me, the back story, the measurement of from-there to-here, and he’d been thoroughly pleased, in that clean love way that my father had…and that would’ve been plenty, but there’d have been more, his own back story, circle of life stuff, that I was enjoying something country, and rural, like his own childhood, the pleasure of dragonflies in the air, the sound of a woodpecker echoing in the woods, the green randomness of tall grass on the other side of the barbed wire fence, and that quiet thing that men in my family have always known, when seeing what is, and seeing past that, to what it could be, even if it’s fuzzy, just a certainty, that it will be better, by sweat of brow labor.

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The Trampoline

It is my curious job, to see deep water, in the raindrops of moments.

It was back a ways, my sister’s boys, still little boys, and we gathered at their house to assemble a trampoline.

My father was there.  He was officially old, a widower, early in the healing.

We assembled.  It’s tubing and springs, fitting, pushing and pulling.  And finally it was done.  The boys began to jump.  All eyes were on the boys.  Except mine.

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My father was a man of his times, and one identifier was his teeth.  They were “natural”, and too tight in the front.  His smile was never photogenic, but it was as honest as his eyes.

He was smiling that trampoline day.  I’d watched him react to we three kids of his, with our moments of cuteness, on our birthdays and Christmases, but I don’t think I ever saw him smile, like I saw him smile over his grandkids jumping on a trampoline.

Maybe it was age, and all the wonders of perspective, and simplicity.

He was there in the right there.  In my father’s scraggly tooth smile I saw sincerity, and maybe God, within…

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Standing on 2×6’s and Enjoying The View

It was August hot and I was drip sweaty.  I had some blood on my forearm.  There’s an old shop on the property, roof gone to ruin, and I’m taking it down to sticks and starting over.

I came up through the rafters, stood up there, and took it in.  Trees and grass, birds and bugs and breezes, the way off feel of country, the all alone of rural, I wiped my eye on the dirty sleeve of my t-shirt, moved, in that not-sure-why way that I always trust, because a tear, for me, is honest, and means I’m plowing down the middle of the row.

No offense to others, but in that moment, in that place, it was Dad who should be there.

Part of the moment was accepting the natural truth of it, that it could never be what it could be, without him here, and it was okay, in a flinching way, knowing that he also had these kinds of moments, after his father, and mother, were no more.

Life is, as it has always been.  Never a round wheel, and still…we roll.

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Imperfect Moments

There are so few perfect moments…but all these other moments, the ones with chips and holes and unhealed wounds, they add up in a good way.

I feel an urgency I did not feel when I was younger, to not gobble the ripe fruit.  No surprises to God, I suppose, that we start getting smarter towards our end.  No telling how many little moments we never noticed, and He understands, and builds the whole thing, so that after skipping the breakfast of youth, and using the drive thru for the lunch of middle age, we arrive at the sit down dinner of the gray years with a hunger.

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Back To My Father’s Smile

I think back to my father’s trampoline smile.  I wonder now, if he had a hole in the moment too, feeling joy of family, but distinctly missing was his wife, and the tie that binds.

Maybe his unusual smile was making up for all the burning-candles-at-both-ends of his younger days.  Smiling for all the family moments he’d missed, and maybe smiling twice as nice, on behalf of Mom, no longer in attendance…

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This edition of Uncle P’s Bedtime Stories is brought to you by Eighty-one, where we try to appreciate the good stuff, in a better-late-than-never way.

Uncle P can be reached at  Other Bedtime Stories can be found on the Eighty-one Facebook page.

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