My dad has been gone fourteen years now. It was shortly before my thirtieth birthday that he passed on, in his eighties. As I look back on the memories I have of him, they are a mixed bag of good, not-so-good and bittersweet. My folks were divorced just after my 12th birthday and I did not spend any time with my dad until after I graduated high school, so my main memories were as a young child.
It was summer 1975. I was seven years old. We lived in a cute old house with an awesome yard in a not-so-great area.
I remember how I’d spend hours and hours in this yard. It was large and had a huge persimmon tree. Mom made lots of persimmon cookies. I distinctly remember how the house sat on a corner. The front door on one street, the back yard along the side street where there were four large palm trees, two on either side of the driveway which was adjacent to the back yard. There was a large iron gate that closed off the yard near the street. I’m not sure why, since you couldn’t really drive into the yard, but that was how it was configured. Today the house has a wooden gate and a smaller entrance gate next to it, which makes much more sense as that is private and a slatted iron gate is not.
I’m not sure if on this particular day the gate was left open or just unlocked or what. But all I remember is one minute playing in my yard and the next minute two big teenagers had grabbed me under my arms and started hauling me off down the street. I screamed as loud as I could. I don’t remember any words beings spoken, all I remember was the teenagers were laughing and I was screaming. I’m not sure how long this went on, but I recall being quite a ways down the street, well past all the palm trees.
Then I saw him. My Dad. Running, full speed towards me. Now you need to understand I had never in my life seen my father run and in fact I don’t recall ever seeing him walk very fast. He was 54 when I was born, so he was 61 at this point. He was sprinting. He'd had to come out the front door of the house and around the corner past the yard entrance. As he came barreling down the street the teenagers spotted him after he passed at least a couple of the palms. They dropped me and took off. It was over.
It's odd because I don’t remember the fear of being snatched out of my yard or the terror that I surely must have felt at the time from being dragged down the street . All I remember is my old dad ran. And he saved me.