Dad’s Best Goodbye

Dad’s Best Goodbye

Dad was lying on his side facing toward the window of the hospital room away from the door when James entered the room. My father had not seen James in several years yet when James said, “Mr. Ivan how are you doing?” Without turning to look toward him dad said, “James what are you doing here, shouldn’t you be at work?  James said, “Now Mr. Raley you know I work for the city now.  Why you got me this job down there taking care of that big old cemetery besides that, it’s Saturday and we city boys don’t work on no Saturday.”

Dad laughed in his own almost silent way, more to be heard by looking at his eyes than listing to his voice. “That’s right”. He said, “You got one of those easy city jobs.” “Now Mr. Ivan ant nothing easy bout keeping all those graves clean and all those flowers picked up and put away. Naw, nothing easy like when you use to let me come to work and then when I gots caught up you would let me catch some of those big blue gills out of the creek down there back of the compress.” James was quick to respond.

He continued, “They told me you done about to die Mr. Ivan and I had to come up here and tell you something before it gets too late.” “Why James,” Dad said, “You don’t need to tell me anything. You were always a good friend and a hard worker and we are all caught up on our talking. But I will say it is good of you to come and tell me bye.”

“No sir Mr. Raley, it ant just to tell you good bye but I be needing to thank you for all you done for me. Now don’t you say nothing until I get finished cause I just might forget and cry? Mr. Ivan if it hadn’t been for you I would never had known how to work, why I wouldn’t even have a job. Nobody going to hire a dumb boy like me. But you did, yes sir you did, and you tell me what to do and showed me how to do it a bunch of times until I get to know just how it be done.  Mr. Ivan I wouldn’t have that little old white house me and my wife lives in if you ant gone down there and told that banking man that I be good to pay for it. And my job at the cemetery, them city people ant going to hire me to take care of all them graves if you didn’t say I do it good.  Yes sir Mr. Ivan I has lots to say, but it mostly be just two words, Thank You.”

Dad turned over on his back, put his frail hand up and James reached over and grabbed it and then wrapped himself over my dad bed and all.

“I sure sorry you going to die Mr. Raley, but I sure glad the good Lord going to take you to a better place and maybe you can tell my daddy hello for me cause he done been gone for a long time and mommy too. You was good to them Mr. Ivan and they be glad to see you and hug you good.”

My father’s eyes sparkled as they did when his soul was merry and he spoke softly, “James, thank you for coming by and you be sure and tell your wife hello for me and James, always do your best because I will be watching you.” “Yes sir, Mr. Ivan, I be doing my best now for both of us.” With that James turned and left the room. I am not sure he ever noticed that I was in the chair in the corner of the room. Dad closed his eyes and a few tears ran slowly down his face. He smiled again with his eyes, looked at me and grinned, and then he turned back to the window.

Dad left that room the next Tuesday and took his place in a new world. Lots of people came to see him in those last days but I think James might have upped them all.


Published in: on June 8, 2016 at 10:38 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Oh my! The sweetest and most beautiful!
    No wonder you are the kind of giving man you are with a daddy like that as an example! We didn’t need welfare and social programs when we were growing up because of people like your dad and my dad!
    May God bless you tomorrow, indeed!

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