Saturday, October 31, 2009
Dia de Bloglandia, Shrines, and a Blog Give-Away
Bienvendio! Come in. I'm celebrating Dias de la Muertos a day early this year because we're going to the mountains this weekend to see my sister-and-brother-in-law, Mary Ann and Don.
Here's the shrine I made for the Children's Cigarbox Shrine Auction.. The auction to raise funds to benefit the street children of Oaxaca will take place in March, and you can read more about it on Rebecca's blog.
My tabletop alter is in memory of my father.
When he was twenty, he joined the Air Force to learn to be an airplane mechanic. He scored so high on the tests they gave him, though, that they trained him to be a fighter pilot instead.
I made the Casa de los Aviadores (Ma Maison) in honor of my father and three of his buddies, two of whom died in the air, in a training accident a week after they graduated.
During my childhood, my relationship with my father was distant. He struggled with chronic depression all of his adult life, and I didn't know him very well, until I had a son of my own. Some things about my father, though, I did know. I know that he flew a secret mission over Cuba in the early 1960's and that he dreamed of moving to Alaska. I know that he could play the trumpet and that he had a wickedly twisted sense of humor. I know that he could repair, plumb, wire, or build absolutely anything. I know he loved photography and potato salad and Jimmy Buffet and boats. I know that, we didn't spend much time together because he worked a full-time job during the week and served in the National Guard on weekends, just to make ends meet. But I know that we had some special times. I know that, when I was eight and wanted to wear my hair in braids, he braided my hair for me before school every day until I could do it myself. I know that, occasionally, when he had to pick me up from school, he would take me fishing and that sometimes I could stay up late and watch Westerns with him, and though we wouldn't talk, it felt pretty good. I know that he saved all my letters and everything I ever made him. I know that I loved the pressure of his hand on the back of my neck as he steered me out of church every Sunday. I know he taught me how to tap out letters in Morse code, how to sew, how to drive, and how to sail a 34 foot sailboat. I know that I would have done anything in the world to please him. After I had my first child, I got to know Daddy better because I wanted my son to know his grandfather. He was a loving and generous grandfather to my sons and to my nieces. He took them to waterparks and sailing and to cut down Christmas trees. He never forgot a birthday, and he showed up for all the important events, even until the end. He tried to make up for the kind of father he thought he'd been.
When he was 55, he was diagnosed with leukemia. He also had high blood pressure, a bad heart, and a pack and a half a day habit, and we joked about how he long survived his cancer, in spite of all that. He said it was because he was too tough to die. I said it was really because he was just too mean to die. But the truth was, I was proud of the way he fought. I was proud of the way he changed his life in those last years. I was proud of the way cancer didn't slow him down until it did. I was proud of the way he said it was time for him to go. And to tell you the honest truth, in spite of lot of other complicated feelings, I was always proud of you, Daddy, and I miss you.
So, I'm going to go up in the attic and pull out his photo albums and celebrate and remember my father.(Saturday Surprise)
Please join in my blog give-away for this original Dia de los Muerotos journal page by leaving me a comment here. I'll use a random number generator and post the winner in a just a few days.
And you can visit lots of other lovely celebrations, if you check the complete list of participants on Rodrigvitz Style. Thank you Stephanie and Susanna for hosting such wonderful event!