From the prompt "The person I would most like to bring back is...", I wrote the following:
The person I would most like to bring back is my dad. Though I do have many visits from him in sleep time, I long to hear his voice, his laugh, to feel his comfortable embrace.
I never got to ask him questions. I heard stories from when he was a kid, but only a chosen few he repeated over and over again.
My father's father was born in England. When his parents and 13 or so siblings emigrated to Canada, Charles remained behind. At the age of 16 he lied about his age and entered the military. He was stationed in India where he met my grandmother, also from the U.K. whose father was stationed in India. My grandparents wed there (and I actually found their marriage certificate online). They had three children, then emigrated to Canada when my dad was a year old. They had one more child here.
I asked my mother recently if my grandparents had British accents. I never met them and was curious as this was never mentioned. My mother having dementia said she didn't know. I'm sure if she thought about it, maybe thought about a conversation they had, she would be able to recall.
A small thing, that, but something I never thought to ask my father. I have pictures of my grandparents and a general idea of their characters, but not much. They never seemed to smile and I know my sister was afraid of my grandmother.
My father had a wonderful sense of humour. He always teased his sisters, always got into trouble. "Madge," my grandfather said one night at the dinner table, "we are raising a fool." (I think it was fool, it could have been clown. I heard the story many times but my mother doesn't remember).
So not only would I like to see, feel, and hear my father again for the mere comfort of being in his presence again, I am sure he has many stories to tell that I want to hear.
I visited my mother recently and tried to reminisce about Dad.
"I was 14 when we met," she said.
"Where did you meet?" I asked knowing the answer.
"I don't remember."
I reminded her of the story Dad had told. "You were in a park, on a swing. He said he even remembered what you were wearing."
"Oh, I don't know," was all she said.
The story of my Mom and Dad walking together, eating ice cream as they crossed the bridge over the Avon River in Stratford is so vivid as my father told it a million times. It's as if I was there.
They toyed with each other, each holding a hand out to the other. "Come here." "No, you come here." My Dad held my mother's hand, but then let go. My mother toppled over the railing into the water. When she came out dripping wet my father was howling with laughter.
I can hear that laugh. My father laughed a lot and brought a lot of laughter into our lives. I could use some of that laughter today and every day. But the laughter only my father could create. And I would love to be able to hear him howl with laughter at something I said. Mostly my jokes, when he was alive, would elicit a look of surprise. Today, I would hope, that I could make him howl with laughter. Laughter we could share together... and then a hug.
John Charles Bird
November 2, 1923 - February 26, 2006