Larry Banman: The circle of life is more than a corny phrase
June 25, 2010
I had a strong desire to call home last Sunday. My mom is moving into a duplex in town and I know that is a big change in her life. It’s the first new home she has had since the late 1940s. But that wasn’t what was gnawing at my conscience. She had the capable help of my siblings.
There was something else.
And then it hit me. It was Father’s Day. Every year for the past 15-20 years, amongst the hustle and bustle of Kremmling Days, I made a phone call to my dad in Kansas. It was almost always on Sunday afternoon, after a weekend of flipping burgers, serving pancakes or doling out a dollop of potato salad. It was a ritual that served as harbinger of a Rocky Mountain summer.
When my dad was farming, we would talk about the wheat harvest, the milo that had been planted or the second cutting of alfalfa. There was a time when that was the common ground upon which we could safely tread. More and more, as time passed, those conversations would start to contain some morsel of wisdom or introspection gem. I enjoyed those conversations.
He would often say he wasn’t afraid of dying, but he worried about how mom would get along and fix the well if the pump broke or stop a faucet from leaking or start the car if the battery was dead. He had always done those things for her. And then, he would ask me questions about life that I always felt inadequate to answer. He was on dialysis and wondered if that was really a wise use of resources. He figured somebody else needed that care more. Somebody with more years to live, more fields to plow, more horizons to see. How do you answer a question like that?
That is the state of mind I was in last Sunday, sitting on the tailgate of my pickup, waiting to start preparing for the Rotary Club dinner. And then it hit me, my dad wasn’t home anymore. Of course I knew that he had died last October. But I never really registered until that moment that this would be my first Father’s Day without a dad. My emotions certainly weren’t as raw as the weeks after his passing, but the melancholy feeling of loss was palpable. It was like the Rock of Gibraltar had slid into the sea. He, along with my mom, built the foundation upon which I grew. That foundation is still there, but I can no longer talk to the architect and builder.
While sitting on that tailgate at the Town Square, I was reconciling those feelings with the news that my second grandson had been born in the last half hour. He was healthy, my daughter was doing well, my other daughter and my wife were nearby, ready to help. All was well in that realm of my life.
My daughter had a normal pregnancy. Things went well, right through the delivery. But for some reason, I was a nervous wreck. For the final seven to 10 days of her pregnancy, we knew it could be any day. Every night my wife and I went to sleep, anticipating that 3 a.m. phone call. Every day was spent preparing as if we would be gone for a few days. When that happens, you start to come up with reasons for a
delivery on that day. Something like his birthday being on the same day of the month as his older brother.
For some time now, I have known that this grandson would carry my name as his middle name. It isn’t a family tradition or something I requested. What I know for sure is it is something that touches me deeply. This is better than having a park, road or library bearing your name.
On Sunday morning, sitting on that tailgate, I was hit will all of those emotions. On a day when I would miss my father the most, Jaxson Lawrence was born.
A door closed and another was opened.
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