I'm the kind of person who skips to the conversation when reading a book.
“I had the best dream last night,” my father told me. He was beaming, almost glowing as he told me this.
“What was it?” I asked.
We were sitting at the nursing home with my mother. She was busy picking at what was left of her breakfast (it was 11 AM), and my dad, as usual, was sitting beside her, just enjoying being next to her.
“We were back in the army,” he said, which placed the dream some 50 years ago. “I had been transferred to a new base, and mom was busy getting us settled into new base housing.”
“She did that a lot,” I commented. At least four times, and maybe more (I was born in the midst of all that), my mother packed up our family, with babies and toddlers and preschoolers every single time we moved, while my father went on ahead. As an adult, I have marveled at this, probably more than many of the other things she did. Anyone can belong to the garden club, but how many mothers can move a family with 3, 4, or 5 children, all very young, and never have them feel the hardness of the situation?
“Yes, we were getting settled into our new base housing, and mother said, ‘Let’s have a party so we can meet our new neighbors!'” He lapsed into remembering, and I wasn’t sure if he was remembering the dream or the truth. His smile, though, bore witness that this was a very happy thought to him.
“It was wonderful,” he concluded, and looked over at my mother lovingly. She was unaware.
Years ago Bobby had given me a little tea-stained stitchery piece. It says,
The memories we collect
Brighten our lives as long
as we live.
I looked at it when I got home that night.
Was my father remembering? Or, was he dreaming?
Whatever the case, it brightened his day.