Saturday, February 14, 2009

Memories, song, and my dad

Memories are funny things. Sometimes they come back out of nowhere and blindside you, so vivid, so real. That is what happened to me this afternoon. For me memories are extrinsically linked to music. That is to say that so many memories are jarred loose by music. So I was out on a 9-mile run and listening to my iPod and had selected Jimmy Buffett. The day was beautiful and I was in a grove and Buffett was singing:

 "Yeah, now, the sun goes slidin cross the water
sailboats they go searchin for the breeze
salt air it aint thin
it can stick right to your skin and make you feel fine
makes you feel fine . . . "
Grand memories of my dad, Grant Lynd, just flowed in. As real as the beautiful sun that was beating down upon me, as real and fantastic as the legs that were propelling me forward. Tears welled up from within me, fantastic tears of gratitude and love.
You see, one of the most vivid memories I have from my life are those of my early childhood and the weekends I spent with my father, Grant. These memories are both of his place on Ocean Avenue in Seal Beach as well as his condo on Barefoot Circle in Huntington Beach. All the memories have a soundtrack of good music, mostly Jimmy Buffett, Jackson Browne, and Bruce Springsteen. The lyrics I quoted above from Buffett are off his 1974 album, A-1-A. It is my favorite Buffett album. It is my dad's favorite too. I remember that album and specifically "Tin Cup Chalice" swirling through the wonderful breezy beach air and all the memories are good.
My dad had the best stereo system and always played music loud. I was always in awe of my father. Many of these memories stem from around the time I was 11 years old. That was 1980, the year my dad took me to my first Buffett concert. I remember everything. It was at the Universal Amphitheater. There was no roof on it then. It was Buffett's "Volcano" tour. I remember what he opened with, I remember what song he was playing midway through the show when I had to go to the bathroom and I didn't want to miss anything, I remember him closing the show with "Survive" and I remember being deeply moved by that song. I remember the shirt my dad bought me. My father has always been so generous. On concerts for me alone he must have spent enough money, to borrow a line from Buffett, to buy Miami. I remember the deep feeling of love and gratitude I had for my dad that night. My dad would take me to see Buffett literally every year after that for a decade. My dad was so fun! Those Buffett shows were a blast!
But today while I am running, I'm not thinking about Buffett. I'm thinking about Grant. I am thinking about being 10 years old and in that condo at the beach and how enamored I was with my father. He was always so handsome. I remember him working out as Buffett's music floated though the house, from sliding door to sliding door, and blowing out toward the Pacific. My dad would let me work-out with him. He taught me about weights, sets, and reps. During these memories, he was in the decade between his 30th and 40th years of age and I remember thinking how young he looked for his age. He was built. A good looking man.
Funny, I never thought about it much before today, but he was a runner. He subscribed to Runners World like I do now. I remember running past the harbor and down to the corner of PCH and Warner with him. I remember getting side stitches and not wanting to say anything about needing to stop because I didn't want to disappoint my hero. This memory is part of what brought me to tears of joy today.
I started thinking about all the things I have in common with my dad: I'm running now, we both love music, we've both seen Buffett more than 20 times, we both love the ocean, and so much more. I started thinking about all the good things he brought into my life. Love of music, yes, but so much more: love of history and a deep appreciation of education just to name two. He is a college graduate and he steered me that way. I remember how he taught me about bees. I think about how he took me surfing. I recall when he took me skydiving. I see our trips to Mexico in my mind. I am so grateful for Grant.
I'm still running and all these thoughts are flying through my head. In the short time it takes to listen to "Tin Cup Chalice" I've relived every good thing, and there are many, that my father ever did for me. I'm happy.
So the chorus comes around again, 
"And I wanna be there
I wanna go back down and die beside the sea there
With a tin cup for a chalice . . . ."
It all makes so much sense now. I kinda do wanna be there. But, I'm even more appreciative for where I am now! It's my daughter's 7th birthday today and I thank God for her. Part of these tears come not from being a son, but memories of seven years ago today when Chrisy delivered what she rightfully called "the best Valentine's gift ever!" I thank God for making me a dad four times over. I thank God for my father, truly, sincerely, thank God for Grant Lynd. I'm grateful that God gave me sons even though I didn't think I could be a good enough dad for them. I am though. I thank God that I am married and faithful. I thank God that it's Valentine's Day and he gave me Chrisy and we've been together for nearly 16 years.
This May my wife and I are even taking our boys to their first Jimmy Buffett concert. So, yea, I'm doing some things the same as my father did. I look to the sky. I throw my arms up. I'm alive. I feel whole. I am truly happy.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...


That was beautiful. And a huge testament to what the Lord has done and will continue to do in your life. Thanks for sharing that.


6:30 PM  
Blogger John said...

Dang, that was awsome. Any idea if your dad might see it?

7:28 AM  
Blogger Sharon G said...

You are blessed with such wonderful memories of your father

9:54 AM  
Blogger The Uncool said...

That was pretty amazing dude. For me, I think what is amazing is that you can focus on the positive. That's the toughest thing to do in my book. It would be so much easier to remember other things (we both know what they are) but you're not dwelling on those. I haven't been in the best of moods recently (just life i general, you name it), but I take something from this, I really do.

2:34 PM  

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