Thursday, November 8, 2012

Gratitude Two: Wry humor about pigs.

My dad had a crazy sense of humor. It is one of the things that I might miss the most: seeing him laugh, and hearing about the things that made him laugh.

Because I was missing him a little this morning, I grabbed my copy of the book his best friend made of letters and stories from their long friendship. I cannot look at this book (or even open it) without sobbing. It fills me with hope that he still exists, somewhere. It makes me frustrated that we can't have more of this earthly life together. It makes me mad that he had to die so young. So really, it isn't a book I've opened more than a few times. But I guess I needed it today.

So, my gratitude for today is this thoughful missive from my father, circa 2003. It makes me do that crazy laugh/cry thing that all women do during the cemetery scene of Steel Magnolias. Hope through despair and all that business. In this letter, my dad has sent a John Irving book to his friend Kent. A short story called Trying to Save Piggy Sneed has caught his eye, and these are the thoughts he has on the story. I doubt that many of you will find it as funny as I do - sometimes you just have to know the person for their thoughts to be funny or profound or meaningful - but know at least one of you will enjoy this paragraph.

When I initially saw the book at Border's, the word "Piggy" caught my eye. Why? Anything that mentions a pig, interests me. Because deep down, I know that if I had been born anything but human, I would have liked to been a pig. Perhaps a Dorack Hog. A big breeder. Don't you think it would be a good life, if your were a pig and had all the sows you wanted? Don't you think that would be a good life? Even at the end, after they had converted you to Bacon and you smiled down from heaven you could recall all the good times. (Do you think there is an afterlife for animals?) With a wry grin on your snout, you blissfully recall your favorite sows. That is if you were a "lucky" pig as you rutted and rooted your way through life. If you were just a common everyday run of the mill pig, I guess being a pig would not be all that great Perhaps in the after life you might shudder a bit as you remembered my Uncle Roe as he drew the sharp life across your throat and bled you out as you dangled from the butchering house ceiling.
These little letters, shared between best friends of nearly 50 years, are a treasure. Even if I had corresponded with my dad, he wouldn't have written these things to me. These were ideas that he shared with his friend, not his child. Having them makes me glad he did have at least one good friend. One who let him talk about his desire to be a pig. One who even laughed at it and enjoyed my dad's thought process. Maybe he even thought to himself which merits of being a pig would have appealed to him.

It makes me realize: what I am doing by blogging is important. It probably won't change the world. I'm not going to ever be a famous blogger. But I am leaving my words behind for others to read. Maybe one day this collection of words will bring someone who loved me comfort of some sort. I cannot have a new conversation with my dad. But the words he took time to write and send to a friend bring him back to me in a way that my memories never will. And that is something to be truly grateful for.


Amy Sorensen said...

(Sorry it took me awhile to respond...too lazy to log in!)

To me, this is one of the powers of keeping a journal or a record of the things you write. Not just letting them disappear. There's dad, right there on hte page, and I'm grown up enough to not get uncomfortable with my dad thinking about pigs getting lucky.

But the thing I love, love love the most about this is his parenthetical. "(Do you think there is an afterlife for animals?)" and how I've thought about that, and love the James Dickey poem so much ("The Heaven of Animals"). It is consoling to know we thought about the same unanswerable questions.