I remember through a slide show of moments that play through my head. And, of course, since today is Father's Day, today's feature is a slide show of my dad. Though I know my words won't paint the picture as vividly as my mind still remembers him, I will try.
The two of us sitting in a big red wagon going down a hill with dad steering the way with the handle.
A room filled with doll furniture and a little tea table and chairs he built for my sister and me one Christmas.
Him teaching me how to play catcher on my little softball team--the Blue Bloodhounds.
Trying to explain Geometry to me.
Me getting to sit on top of the homemade ice cream freezer while he cranked it.
His smile when he opened my Christmas gift to him--a penny in a little glass dome that I ordered from the Sears Catalog.
Him sitting in the living room listening to Marty Robbins play on the stereo.
Him taking me rabbit hunting.
Him sitting on a little green stool in front of the television playing Atari.
Him picking me up from school when there was a tornado and the two of us sitting on the outskirts of town in his company vehicle, watching three funnels drop from the sky, moving away from our little town.
Me sitting on the edge of the bathtub in the middle of the night with a dislocated jaw that resulted from a too-wide yawn--Dad standing in the doorway to the bathroom scratching his head and saying, "That's the damnedest thing I've ever seen".
Him trying to maintain a stern exterior as he called all of us girls (including mom) down at the dinner table when our giggles got out of control.
Him as the captain of the family raft on a trip down the Rio Grande.
Him kissing my mother goodbye every morning and hello every evening.
Him engulfed in a fog of cigarette smoke waiting up for me when I stayed out way too late with my boyfriend---who, by the way, is now my husband.
His pride in me when I graduated from his favorite university.
Him walking me down the aisle to his favorite song "Danny Boy".
Him sitting on the floor in his kitchen teaching my son to walk.
Him in his wood shop teaching his grandsons to carve.
His silliness with his grandchildren.
Him driving the grandkids around in a golf cart.
His way of letting me know he loved me, not so much with words, but with his gently-laid arm around my shoulders and his signature soft "pat".
His emotions getting the best of him when he heard me sing.
His strong body becoming weak.
His words being typed with my hands as I helped him compile a book in his later years.
And the hardest picture of all for me to see---me holding the hands that first held me as he left. But even in that sadness, there is something so beautiful in that picture for me---the full circle of us--father and daughter.
I know there was so much more to Dad---so much that came before me. He was an adventurer. He rode the rapids on the Rio Grande, enjoying what was still "wild" in the west. I think he was quite possibly rowdy back in the day! He served his country. He loved history. He didn't have a college degree, but he could have had several. He was incredibly intelligent. He was fiercely strong-willed. He was honest as the day is long. He worked hard every day he was able. He took care of his family. He was unique. He was creative. He didn't give one care about what everyone else thought. He was well-spoken and expected his children to be so, too! He was well-mannered at the dinner table and required that of his children. He was a gentleman. Oh, he could curse, that's for sure, but he carefully guarded his speech in front of women and children. He was a man of few words, but he never really needed that many.
My dad was Rex Wayne Knox. And though I really miss him, so much of him lives in me and my sisters and all of our children. We are his legacy. And I think, but for a few minor glitches here and there, he would be exceedingly proud of who we've all become.