For the past four years I have been thinking about starting a collection of memories that I still have about my father. I have hesitated and haven't started because.. well I don't really know why I haven't done it. I had a grand old idea of writing down what little I could remember, then asking everyone who would to write theirs down also. Maybe as a gift to my Yiayi, maybe as a memento to be shared between his three daughters, or maybe something for my children to read when they ask me what their grandfather was like. I don’t know what I would have done with it, had it come to completion. But for whatever the reason, it never got done.
I had pretty much forgotten that idea (consciously or unconsciously) and had many other things that deserved my attention. But life will have its ways, and will mess up your well laid-out plans. I arrived about half hour early to one of my classes last Tuesday night, and I sat down with my book, since I was alone, and the teacher was in the next room correcting some papers. I didn’t get two sentences read when she came in the room and started to talk, continuing a sort of debate that we had never gotten to finish. A few more students came wandering in, and they also joined the conversation. Then, seemingly out of the blue, she turns to me and says ‘I finally figured out where I remembered you from!’ To put everyone into context, I came into St-Willibrord in the middle of grade 3, and she was a Kindergarten teacher, so we had both assumed she recognized me from seeing me in the halls. Or so I thought.
She then continued on with saying:
‘I met your father in the Alibi once, when my husband and I went in to play pool. He was with a friend, and seeing as how we four were the only people in the bar apart from the bartenders, he immediately hailed us over and asked us to play pool with them. I didn’t know him, we were complete strangers, but he acted like we were friends who he hadn’t seen in awhile. Before long he was buying everyone shots and we had so much fun! That was a month to the date before he passed away. I thought you would want to know.’
Incredible, isn’t it, how even now, even 12 years after he passed, I still meet people who knew my father, and tell me about him. The most unlikely person, that I would never have connected with my dad turns out to be my teacher in a course that I didn’t even want to take in the first place, randomly tells me this memory she had of him. They met once for a few hours only, yet he marked her and her husband enough that 12 years later, she would meet his youngest daughter and tell her of this one night when a random man played a friendly game of pool with complete strangers.
How extraordinary is that? What an extraordinary man my father must have been. Maybe this is God’s way of kicking me in the butt for not doing what I was thinking of doing 5 years ago...