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No Tears Dad

Every so often I find the need to sort through my old sock drawer. In doing so I discover items long forgotten. Like that plastic thingamabob which obviously goes to something. I squirreled it away at the bottom of the drawer, assuring myself that one day I would find its rightful place. And there’s those same three unmatched socks, still lingering anxiously like the father awaiting the return of his prodigal son. 

But I could have never imagined the heart stopping treasure I’d come across next… 

Read more: No Tears Dad

Ten years before she died, my daughter Cherie and I took a trip to Boston.  The town was abuzz because the Chicago Cubs had come in to play the Red Sox for the first time since game six of the 1918 World Series.  Boston had turned Cubbie Blue with countless Chicago fans showing their colors as they infiltrated the city.  

That also happened to be the weekend evangelist Harold Camping predicted the end of the world was nigh.  Caravans of his followers lined the streets warning all who passed that Judgment Day would take place that Saturday, May 21, 2011. 

Cherie and I agreed, if you gotta go, it might as well happen at a Cubs game. Even Fenway’s public address announcer joined in on all the hoopla.  Piped in over the park’s sound system was R.E.M.’s song – It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

For lodging, we ended up in the only available space left in Boston, some old boarding house at the end of the Worcester Commuter line. Our daily walk back and forth from the train station took us through a picturesque little neighborhood lined with trees brandishing their flowering spring buds against the bright blue sky. Israel Kamakawiwoʻole’s recording of, “Over The Rainbow/What a Wonderful World” perfectly captured the flavor of those leisurely strolls together. 

We took in all we possibly could of what Boston had to offer: Old Ironsides, The Freedom Trail, Cheers, Giacomo’s Ristorante, The Union Oyster House, cannolis at Mike’s Pastry, The Bell In Hand Tavern, Sam Adams’ Brewery, and of course beautiful Fenway Park.

Cherie possessed a certain magnetism when it came to people; she honestly didn’t know what a “stranger” was.  In one tiny Italian restaurant she had engaged the entire room in conversation within fifteen minutes of our being there. At Fenway she rallied our section of right field into a cheering frenzy, and was credited by those fans for inspiring the Cubs come-back victory.  She engaged people on the train, in the streets, and on tours. At the sports bar where we stopped in to watch the Bulls play the Miami Heat in the NBA playoffs, she ignited an in-depth exchange over Derrick Rose being an overrated point guard.  This was the quintessential Cherie, always on stage.   

We both agreed that if there was one song that would communicate the aura of our experience together there, it was  Lyle Lovett’s “If I Had a Boat.”

Its lively melody and quirky humor wooed us. It brought to mind a fanciful and endless adventure, much like our four days together in Boston. It conveyed images of one standing at the bow of a vessel as it headed out to sea, escaping from the entanglements of life and voyaging out to a place of freedom, peace, and serenity.

The chorus of the song went like this: 

If I had a boat

I’d go out on the ocean

And if I had a pony

I’d ride him on my boat

And we could all together

Go out on the ocean

I said me upon my pony on my boat

Often, when comforting a friend who had lost a loved one, Cherie would use the visual of a ship slipping out of sight over the horizon.  She’d say, “On this shore there are tearful people waving goodbye…but over the horizon there is another shore: heaven. And there, one will find joyful people, welcoming them home.”  She was always looking for a way to ease one’s pain.

…at the bottom of my sock drawer lay the handkerchief I had forgotten about. It had been a gift to me from Cherie on her wedding day. Wanting to assure her nervous dad regarding the journey she was about to embark upon, she chose these words from our special song and had them embroidered on that handkerchief. 

No tears Dad,

…I bought a boat

I’m going out to sea

Those words brought a huge smile to my face back then. But today, still struggling a year and a half after her death, her words took my breath away. I literally couldn’t move while trying to grasp the new significance of her message. I swear I could feel her warm presence in the room with me. Once again I sensed her compassion, her witty humor, and her ability to always seem to know what to say. 

I haven’t cried for awhile…I did today. 

God, I miss you Cherie…we all do.


12 thoughts on “No Tears Dad

  1. Loved this so much. I hate the pain that I know comes as a tidal wave for you though.
    She was so very blest to have a dad and mom that loved her unconditionally. Because of the love showered on her she was able to spread that to others.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a wonderful memory you have of Cherie! Thank you for sharing with us. Hold on to that hanky and always remember the good times that God has blessed you with. I too am remembering Cherie. Good Friday is coming around and I loved the program she would do for us at Living Creek. I loved working with her in youth group. She was so full of joy and loved the kids. She is missed.

    Liked by 1 person

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