In Memoriam, to a wonderful father
(Excerpt from Fly Over Down Under)
1946 – WW II is over… we are joining my father in Luzon. The transport ship pulled in to dock at destination Manila. A brass band played with great gusto and feeling, “Kiss me once, and kiss me twice.” Next line of that song is “It’s been a long, long, time.” And so it had. We pressed against the railing, eagerly scanning the crowd, the pier so full of army caps, shouting and waving. The arriving dependents were busy spotting husbands and fathers, the men anxiously peering up to find sweethearts and children. I spied mine right away, intense and handsome, his face joyful at seeing us. Off the ship we rushed into his welcoming arms. I was surprised… a few little guys were quite terrified by these men their mommies were hugging – they hadn’t seen them in so long they didn’t recognize them! Probably they had been babes in arms at their last encounter. Or waiting to hatch? So there I was, sitting behind my pilot Dad, riding over the China Sea out of Luzon in a rackety single engine reconnaissance plane, tandem seating. We ventured out to see the relics of his war, a few sunken warship hulks pointing their dead black hulls from sea to sky… I said how huge they were. Dad growled, you should see the parts under water. I was so young – but he must have wanted me to see that, and to remember.
R.I.P., Daddy. I remember.