The Ark

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We lived in Rhode Island for a year when I was six. That was when/where Dad made it official and adopted me. We lived in a one bedroom trailer. One of those silver ones. When I asked my mom where I was going to sleep, she said, "In the closet in the kitchen." And sure enough, there was a closet with sliding doors in the kitchen. When you opened the doors, there were several side by side drawers with a countertop, and then another shelf above that. The drawers were perfect as my dresser but the actual plan was for me to sleep on the sofa. I was so excited about sleeping in the closet though that they didn't have the heart to tell me they were teasing. So, my dad bought some dense foam and cut it to size and mom got me sheets and pillow. Eventually, they built a room onto the trailer and much to my great disappointment, I moved into a real room. 

Across the street from the trailer park was a field. Then, it went nearly straight up and a bit further back from that was woods. When it was warm, it was where all the kids gathered for games of kickball, freeze tag and football. The neighborhood held an Easter Egg hunt. I didn't find any eggs but a little girl gave me one of hers. The BIG thing though, was the snow. The kids all came out with their sleds and dogs and trash can lids and card board boxes and we'd creep up to the top and slide down the side of the hill. Sometimes, it looked like we'd keep going till we hit the street but we never did. 

We would put plastic baggies on our hands and feet to keep our gloves and socks dry and we'd stay out as long as we could. I got a sled for Christmas that year. Dad would lay down on his stomach. Duffy, our dog, would jump up and sit between his shoulders and then as many kids as would fit would hop up on his back and down the hill we'd go. The more kids that piled on, the farther and faster we'd go. We'd stay out till we either got tired or  wet and then we'd go home to dry out. Often, we'd just get done peeling off our wet coats, gloves, hats and shoes, and Mom would make us hot chocolate. One day, the first  occasion that would become many, we were sitting at the table with our hot chocolate when we heard a tiny wrap at the door. Mom answered. One of the neighbor kids that we didn't actually know very well stood there. "Can your daddy come out to play?" Mom turned and looked at my dad. Dad looked at Mom. She smiled and he went to bedroom for dry socks while she dug out more plastic bags. Out he went, with my sled and the dog, and as I watched from the window, dad, the dog and the neighbor kids, piled on and went up and down that hill till nearly dark. We got to have more hot chocolate when he came home. We'd listen to Elvis till I fell asleep.

Views: 45

Comment by JoAnn on February 27, 2012 at 11:19am

Such a nice story.  Sounds like your Dad was a very sweet guy.

Comment by BlancheNoE on February 27, 2012 at 7:11pm

See? I stand by my comment " ...he gave us you."

He's obviously a huge contributor to the person you became.

A lovely recollection. Thank you.

Comment by Dana (scribblers sanctuary) on February 28, 2012 at 3:54am
JoAnn - My dad was everyone's buddy, the salt of the earth, and my hero. thank you.
Amy - you are very kind, sweet friend. If I manage to be half the person my dad was, I will have lived well. Thank you.
Comment by Pypermarru1 on February 28, 2012 at 12:27pm

This says so much about who he was as a person.  I know I would have been knocking on the door like the other kid.  This blog honors him well.

Kitchen Closet?...LOL.  I would have loved that, like a cool ass fort. 

I had a glow in the dark frisbee that I slept with for years - it was my teddy bear of sorts - would have been the perfect night light for the kitchen closet fort :0) 

Comment by NatureJunkie on March 27, 2012 at 4:11pm

What a sweet story. Your dad gave you a Frank Capra life, complete with sled. He was also a gift to all those other neighbor children. He let them know that a grown up could find playtime a worthy pursuit, and the company of children worthy of his time.

(And you make sleeping in a closet sound like the coolest fun a kid could have.)


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