“I keep calling to you my baby blue, my baby blue.” --John Hiatt*
The sense of my father being with me this week is near overwhelming. Daddy died more than 30 years ago and while I still hold him dearly in my heart, he does not often enter into my daily thoughts—at least to the extent I am now experiencing. Driving down Hwy 101 near the Umpqua Lighthouse, I have had to pull over as there are tears streaming down my face for no apparent reason. The flow started while listening to John Hiatt’s song, “Baby Blue” which just showed up on my I-Pod song shuffle. None of this makes any sense right now, but the connection to my long-deceased father is undeniable for me.
The recent ‘sense of my father’ began three days ago when my friend in Tiburon reminded me that he had promised to look up some Naval records for my dad. I quickly e-mailed my sister who is the current keeper of the family records and asked for the submarine information of Daddy. She put her fingers on the info immediately and responded to me quickly. Lo and behold that very day was our father’s birthday. Coincidence? I think not.
Today as I drove along the highway, I came across the Oregon Dunes that I did not realize even existed. There upon the sand were several dune buggies and I was immediately transported back to the days when I learned to drive and I used to go to the river bottom with Daddy and play in our dune buggy. I found myself wanting to rent an ATV and tool across the sands like I did a zillion years ago. My father was clearly present with me.
As I continued my route, I began to think about my last few days of driving. I am driving in a little VW convertible which is a newer version of the car I drove when I was 16 (a car I 'shared' with my dad.) I again am reminded of my father and that his final occupation in life was as a long distance truck driver. His blood runs through my veins. Yesterday I came to the conclusion that I really don’t like to make little stops here and there. I like to get in the car and GO. Yesterday I drove for several miles with my jacket on because I was not at a place where I wanted to stop and pull over. It reminds me of the years we drove back and forth between Oklahoma City and San Diego where my father’s family lived. Very few stops along that route!
Ah, San Diego. I realize now that the calling from my father began before his birth date on August 20. This road trip was originally conceived as a time to visit with my brother. Looking at a map, I found that San Diego is equidistance between Seattle and Bellville Texas where my brother lives. Curious that this place where my family lived before I was born (when my father was in the Navy) would be the place where I ‘coincidentally’ hoped to reconnect with my brother. Alas, he was unable to accept the invitation and thus the baby road trip was born.
Needless to say (for me at least), my father has been speaking to my subconscious for quite some time. I wonder what he is trying to say? I wonder what I shall learn from this? The sea calls to me. My father was a sailor. The road calls to me. He was a truck driver. “Baby Blue” calls to me. I was his “baby.” I am a grown woman now, but I am still his little girl. He died nearly 33 years ago on September 12, 1975. He would have been 89 years old last Wednesday.
*just a little aside…when I went to research these lyrics this morning, the first thing that popped up was john hiatt’s birthdate. August 20. btw—my father’s name is John. ☺