My dad, Richard (Dick) Longenecker, passed almost two years ago. My dad and I were often on the same page. We thought alike, we enjoyed many of the same things, we even worked on a book together. I miss him. Sometimes, I think, I can even hear him suggest things to me. At times, I am thankful he has not had to endure the Covid19 pandemic. These days would have been difficult for him, he was such a social being. Coffee three times at day at the local hangouts with his friends. Sometimes, if it was a good day to be out with friends there were five coffee/Pepsi meetings to discuss the world events then he topped the day off by going out for supper with my mom and friends.
The other day, my husband and I were out biking, and we were serenaded by a cardinal singing as we left our driveway and then even flew along as we rode down the alley.
We headed out along the Judson Bottom Road. Often along the hillsides you can see pockets of white sand. That sugar sand took me back to wonderful place in time…my childhood. White sugar sand is the best sand in the world to make sandcastle, miniature roadways and burying your toes in. Damp white sand can be molded in Jell-O molds, cake pans, and sandbox pails unmolded and revel the greatest of details. How do I know this? My dad used to bring home a pail of white sand every summer. We pushed all the old sand to the corners of the sand box and he poured the white sand in with great fanfare. Us kids were so excited but after a few weeks of the beautiful white sand seemed to disappear. We assumed it was mixed in with the regular old sandbox sand. When I got older and had kids of my own, I realized the white sand lasted only until we had tracked enough into the house day-after-day and in the dawn twilight hours before Dad left for work he would dig out what white sand was left, put it in a pail and take it back the hillside where he found it. Oh, what fun we had with it while it lasted!
Stopping in a field driveway to enjoy a treat of grapes and sips of ice water we witnessed a beautiful cardinal flew across the road in front of us. Fiery red wings spread wide.
While Warren observed the pasture of Angus cattle in front of us, I search the gravel at my feet until I found a small agate nugget. Again, Dad tipped-toed into my memory. Dad ran a crane at North Star Concrete. His entire life he proudly declared he was a Union #49er, Heavy Equipment Operator. While sitting in the crane’s driver’s seat he watched for agates that came up in the bucket full of river sand. If an agate caught his fancy, he’d remember where he opened the bottom of the bucket and emptied the sand out. On his coffee break, Dad searched for the agate sitting on a top of the pile and put in it in his pocket. When he got home, we eagerly waited for he emptied his pockets. He placed each agate treasure in a dish of water so the rock’s true beauty could shine through. I think that is where my love of rocks comes from.
We rode on to Judson and turned around. As we neared the end of our ride, I stopped to take a photo of a tree split down the middle from a recent storm. I looked to my left and there I saw the confirmation I think, my heart was looking for…a road sign of a farmer on his tractor, pretty sure it was a John Deere Tractor.
Okay, Dad I get it! I hear you! You’re happy. You’re all good! You’re praising God. You’re watching over us, telling us all will be fine. Thank you, Dad for checking in!