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Unfinished Verse to My Father

Here are a few thoughts in memory of my dad.

Unfinished Verse to My Father

To save money, St. Mary’s
no longer rings the Angelus bells.
Three times each day I hear silence.
– David Citino

The silence of absence can be deafening.
On Sunday evenings when we gather, we break bread, we tell stories,
I hear, see, feel his absence.
In the echo of voices,
his silence silences me.

Throughout my childhood,
he brought a new story home
every day.
As we chewed our baked chicken
and buttered our bread
he’d fill our imagination
with dangerous criminals, car chases,
and captured robbers.
And sometimes he’d still
recount those years in
New York, following Russian spies
to the gym, to the tea room, to the pier.
As he waxed on,
no one spoke.
If I wanted the potatoes, I pointed.
No one spoke.
The meal moved forward with gestures,
and we listened to the adventures of the storyteller.

Now the thundering silence of his absence
echoes through me.

His words wrap around my bones,
circulate through my blood,
and burn in my heart.
I hear them when I pray
over the meal.
I feel them when I reach
for the butter.
I see them when I look
around the table.
The silence of absence can be deafening.

Categories: Family
  1. June 19, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    I see the storytelling gene that you got from your dad is only exceeded by your gift of passing it on. I feel so blessed to have heard, to be hearing, and to anticipate hearing much more in the echo of his voice.
    P.S. I will not interrupt, but please notice that my finger is pointing to the “Keep Sending” key.
    P.P.S. I thimble to think about dancing with out a story line.

  2. June 19, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    I believe that your dad passed on his talent of storytelling to you and Jeremy. You may not have any cool spy stories, but you still have his. Thanks for a great share.

  3. Benjamin Taylor
    June 19, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    Deeply moving, Doug. Just so you know, I’ve recounted your father’s stories to many other people. Most don’t know your names; they just know of stories which begin “Once upon a time, a friend’s father. . .” Of the few who’ve heard your name, most of these have never met you. Yet they certainly know about “Doug Floyd and his dad!” From all that I’ve seen and heard the richness of this father-son relationship echoes through the lives of many people. This is no coincidence, and I believe you know why.

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