I call my Dad the other night. Mom has gone to Jackson, bright lights big city. It is dark and I know the sun going down will bring him inside. I also know that the phone conversation will be exquisite, rare, bursting with universal secrets, simple and profound all at the same time. Or maybe I don't know nothing.
Anyway, he doesn't answer the phone so I leave my voice on the answering machine, Daddy, I know you're screening your calls. I know you saw it was me, and you better pick up the phone. Then a quick hang up.
About ten minutes later there he is. Calling me back.
I answer the phone with, Uh huh, you wanted it to be Josh, didn't you?
No, Boog. I was outside, don't tell your mama but I was smoking me a cigar.
Sorry, Daddy. Mama now knows.
You having a baby, Daddy?
No, Boog. Why would ja' ask me that?
Cause you're smoking a cigar. I thought people did that when they had babies.
He laughs, a laugh which tickles your eardrums. He really does giggle like that four year old boy.
No, Boog. I was just sitting outside doing what you and I do. Looking up at the stars. Ya' know, just enjoying what I got.
Oh Daddy, I do know. That's good.
Yeah, Boog. Ya' know what I was thinking?
What were you thinking?
I was thinking that I don't know nothing.
I think that all the time, Daddy. Ya' know how as soon as you think you know something then life goes and tells you something else. Always at the end of that I think, Well hell, I don't know nothing.
Yeah, like that, Boog.
Then I tell him you better get in the shower 'cause Mom called me and she's about thirty minutes away. You better straighten your act up, Daddy. She could smell that cigar. Just don't make it a habit. Or do, I don't care.
And he laughs again. THE laugh.
It tickles me so I laugh too.
Then we do the I Love Yous and say Bye and Goodnight.
And all I can think is gratitude.
In less than a week Sarah will be making a similar but different call to Donnie. I think about her and say her name out loud at least once a day 'cause I think energy moves and somehow she's getting it.
And today is Rusty's birthday. I've decided that to truly call yourself a writer, which I guess I now kinda do, is to give your friends stories for their birthday. A story custom made for them. And, well, Rusty loves Bobby stories so Happy Birthday, Rusty. No, you're not getting a cake.
To the rest of you, beautiful you, friends, family, anyone who reads what I write.
D (thanks for the help, D)
And you, you who I don't maybe know your name. Thank you. I'm smoking a cigar.
Not literally, Mama.
Thank you. For you, I have a story coming up called, I know a Cat named Way Out Willie.*
*Ken Russell. Johnny Otis.