Dad, not quite a year ago, in the Easter bonnet I got him. OK not bonnet, but that’s how we jokingly referred to it. Tried to get it on Easter, and the hat shop was closed (duh), so we went the next time he was in town with me. Hats like these are made for gents like my dad.
Thinking a lot about him today. He is more gone than here, more out than in. Thus, the heightened value of stolen moments like this one, showing me him and his love, utterly present.
He would never ordinarily feel this unselfconscious in front of a camera–would always stiffen and pose uncomfortably, the ineffable essence of himself evaporating in a puff. This image exists because I held the camera against my chest, and–yes, I’ll admit it–took three or four pictures stealth. He was looking into my eyes, not at the camera’s lens.
We sat under a shade on a sunny June afternoon; he’d just finished watching his youngest nephew “graduate” preschool in a ceremony the school held in our backyard with all the other kids; he hadn’t tired yet. We had been talking about something or another which I totally forget now. Something that made him smile like this, mostly with his eyes, which have been capable of reflecting and inspiring so much mirth for so many decades. And there he was. Being him.