I’ll let y’all enjoy Aleisha’s beautiful post… This Christmas, Give Time
I was sitting on the floor of my warm, cozy family room–wrapping
Christmas gifts and listening to Harry Connick Jr. belt out holiday
tunes from my stereo speakers. The green garland on top of the
entertainment center was lighted and twinkling, perfectly festive with
holly berries and pine cones throughout. My new “Evergreen” candle–fir
balsam and mint, blended with spicy clove and pine–was burning on the
mantel above the fireplace. I drew a deep breath and was struck by
nostalgia. The smell of that candle reminded me of the cologne my dad
wore when I was a kid. Suddenly, I longed to be a little girl again,
riding atop his strong shoulders.
My dad was always very cool. No, more than cool. He was hip.
His coal-black hair was thick and slightly wavy. His dark brown eyes
would shine when he laughed. He always wore a jean jacket and sported a
mustache and sideburns. As I got a little older–moving into awkward
preteen and teen years–friends who once said, “Your dad is so funny,”
started saying, “Your dad is a babe.”
I remember Dad was the one who took me to get my ears pierced when I was
five. When it came time to take my studs out, after the tiny holes in
my earlobes had healed, it was my dad who told me to wear mismatched
“Why wear one pink heart and one gold star?,” I asked.
“Because Madonna does it,” he replied, “and that’s the style. It’s cool!”
So I did.
Dad was good with his hands. He worked on our broken-down cars, painted
our bedrooms, and landscaped our yard. He always had a “project” he
was working on–whether it be a home repair, a bush to plant, or a part
to buy for his big, red, clunky truck. I loved that truck! It didn’t
have seat belts. It didn’t have AC. The stereo didn’t work, so Dad
bought and installed a new one, complete with tape deck. I remember all
the fun I had as Dad’s passenger in the cab.
Saturday was the best day of the week. Dad usually had an errand to
run, mainly to the hardware store for lumber or PVC pipe or vegetable
seeds. Running those errands with him was a treat, and my heart would
do a little dance in my chest whenever he asked me to come along. I
knew that riding with him meant two things: I’d get a Slurpee at our
“mandatory 7-Eleven stop,” and we’d jam!
My dad was into rock and roll and liked listening to his music loud.
He’d pop a cassette tape into the tape deck and say, “Now remember–do
NOT tell your mother I let you listen to this stuff.” If it was warm
outside he’d roll down the windows. He’d hit “play” and turn the volume
up, up, up! Sometimes the music was so loud we’d have to shout to hear
each other. We’d cruise around in his truck with the wind in our hair
and the song lyrics on our lips.
And that was how I learned about Steppenwolf, Pink Floyd, and a bullfrog
named Jeremiah. I knew the lyrics to Jethro Tull’s, “Aqualung,” by the
time I was nine. I learned all about Deep Purple and how “Smoke On The
Water” was Dad’s favorite record when he was younger, when his hair was
a lot longer. We would listen to Led Zeppelin often. I came to love
Robert Plant’s musical genius, and the way my dad would drum his hands
on the steering wheel; keeping time to the infectious beat of “Whole
I tied a green bow around one of the packages I had been wrapping,
awoken from my reverie by Harry’s snappy rendition of “Let It Snow.”
Memories seemed to swirl around me like the fragrance of the “Evergreen”
candle. In that moment, I had an epiphany–so simple, but profound. I
realized my kindhearted, humorous, unbelievably hip, and wonderful dad
gave me one of the most precious gifts any parent can give a child:
Time. He gave me his time. I knew I would love him forever for that.
I walked over to the stereo and ejected Harry Connick Jr.’s holiday CD.
I replaced it with Jethro Tull’s “Original Masters,” pressed the “play”
button, and went back to my wrapping. Interestingly enough, track one
is the song, “Living in the Past.” As Ian Anderson’s unique voice
filled the room I thought about my past, my memorable childhood and all the time I spent with my dad.
I remembered to turn the volume up.
So, now I’m teary… that was beautiful.
This Christmas, Give Time is exactly what I needed to read this Holiday Season.
A lovely reminder of how important it is to share our time with our loved ones because that’s what really matters- all year long.
Happy Monday and Happy Holidays too!
xoxo~ Aleisha and Ruthie