Sunday, June 27, 2010

Burial at sea

In November of 1997 my father died. In the summer of 1998 my sister,
my mother and I scattered his ashes in Hatteras, NC, near a bench on a
beach access boardwalk where he would sit on during the many visits he
made to the Outer Banks.
Hatteras was one of his favorite places. The solitude, the sounds, the
ocean, the climate, but most of all the place, drew him and his wife
and children again and again to this spot. I'm here with my mother, my
wife, and kids. They never knew my father. To them he's just a man in
photographs, who they often mistake for me. He's a lot more than that,
a lot more than me I think. I won't describe him, other to say I
think it means a lot to him that we're here and we're walking on the
same beaches, sitting on the same benches and talking about our visits
to Lee Robinson's before they built the new store, to the Red & White
when the floors were wooden, to Hatteras Sands when the hurricanes
came and the tents were destroyed and how I finally beat Mom at ping
pong after years of losing every match, and of course trips to the
light, the heat inside, the many steps, the wind, the sun, the Apple
Uglies at the Orange Apple Blossom bakery, the pizza and gingerbread at the
Gingerbread House. I have 37 years of history to this place, I can see
my children building their own memories. To them it isn't where their
grandfather is buried, it really is their place now.