Before I left Oregon to return to Colorado after Dad’s passing, Mom, my sisters, and I split up Dad’s books. I came away with the King Raven trilogy, a series set in Wales that re-tells the story of Rhi Bran y Hud (a.k.a. Robin Hood).
Dad didn’t really own many books in the first place. He was never a bookworm. I get that from Mom. Dad, being more of a “get-outside-and-play-a-game” type of guy, didn’t plow through books the way Mom & I do. Yet, when he did pick up a book, he savored it slowly, like the mug of hot, Earl Grey tea that accompanied him on his literary journeys. Dad is one who travels to unseen planes when he reads, and when he comes back to Earth, he has a rich story to tell.
Today, while I was reading, I came across a mark that I’ve seen Dad use so many times. It surprised me to see it, because Dad wasn’t one to mark up his fiction books, though his non-fiction ones are permeated with ink and graphite at his hand. It made me weep.
Out of everything, that’s what Dad chose to mark in this book. I know he read these books in his final years on Earth. It makes sense that this passage is the one that touched him enough that he had to get a pencil and mark it. I can see his thoughtful eyes, his brow knit in concentration, as he read and re-read this passage. As he allowed the words to flow over, in, and through him until he felt he really understood it.
My dad, who could never just take anything at its face value. The man who never saw anything but through the lens of reasonable, humble faith. (Well, as much as any sinful human being could, anyway.)
Reading these books that were loved by him makes me feel like he is still teaching me. As though the legacy he left is more tangible than I think it is.
Books were one of the few connections I had with Dad. One of the few places where our interests overlapped. I was not into sports, or some of the other things that he was. We were very different creatures, Dad and I, but here, between pages, we could meet.
Here, between these pages, I can see him again.
Grace & Peace,