A Father’s Day reminder: Loved ones never leave us | Home Again

By Joanne Peterson | Jun 19, 2014

The 57th Annual Edmonds Arts Festival, held annually on Father’s Day weekend, has come and gone, with its crowds and color, outdoor booths of paintings, photographs, iron and wood, textiles, glass, ceramics and jewelry.

And, of course, food! No, the weather wasn’t totally cooperative, but spirits were high. This is the Pacific Northwest, people; weather can’t dampen our mood unless we allow it.

I meandered among paintings, drawings and other artistic expressions filling display boards set up in what used to be the gym of my old grade school—now Francis Anderson Center.

Visiting that venue, where I used to play dodge ball, remains my favorite feature of the Edmonds Arts Festival, dating back to one of the early festival years—perhaps the first one?—when local artist Gene Weeden won first prize for his oil painting of a ferry, small and white against a dark expanse of Puget Sound.

Every time I go to the beach and watch the ferries glide in and out, I envision that painting and remember Gene, a lifelong family friend. This year, as always, I found a number of works I would be delighted to own but resigned myself to doing without an original and made a budget-friendly choice--a copy of the festival poster by David Marty, showing boats in the marina in the warm light of sunset.

Yes, last weekend was Father’s Day, as well as the arts festival. Father’s Day is difficult for me. You’d think after the first several decades without my dad, I’d get over that, but I don’t.

Probably my father would chide me a bit, tease me about too many years of being a daddy’s girl. “A chip off the old block,” he called me. The thing is, the father-daughter connection between us still exists. That’s a gift. But right this minute, I want to walk down to the Edmonds marina and find him puttering on his boat, wringing the last bit of work time out of fading daylight.

I believe people we love who have gone on ahead of us never really leave us. That’s been a comfort through the years since my dad’s sudden death when I was just past 30, and my children—his adored grandchildren—were small. I had assumed, in naïve confidence, that our time together was limitless.

As a child, I made my dad gifts for Father’s Days: a rock paperweight on which I painted a boat anchor, awkwardly rhymed little poems, cookies from sugar-free recipes (diabetes!) and a “KEEP OUT” sign I lettered for his shop door—a sign he taped on the door only prior to Christmas. Always, he said the gifts were exactly what he wanted. I knew he meant that.

As it does annually, Father’s Day reminded me of this: Time spent with dear ones, now gone from our lives, rightly can be measured not by calendar, not by passage of years, but only by love and memory.

 

 

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