Sometimes when I am sad and particularly missing my father, I google him. He died in 2007 so for the most part I find the same stuff. I find the articles on his accident. I find his obituary. I find a few things he wrote in to various motorcycling websites and online magazines. I treasure all of these findings because, while they are bittersweet, it helps me see that a part of him still exists in the world. And I want others to know about him and remember him too.
I always tell people how special my dad was and they nod and smile and say, of course he was. It’s the empathetic smiles and kind words you get from people who know that your dad was special to you. But when I say he was special, I mean he was special and not just to me. Or relatives. Or friends. He impacted strangers and acquaintances and left a hole in the world when he died. He had a way about him that was all at once commanding and gentle, calming and yet also very, very funny.
My dad’s funeral while of course, heartbreaking, also showed the love the community had for him. As we made the arrangements, we told the funeral director that we were going to run out of space. He assured us that we’d have enough space for everyone as the overflow rooms had closed circuit televisions. Not surprisingly, there were people everywhere. Every hall, every door frame, every inch of the place was full. Folks had to stand outside and it made me so sad and so proud all at the same time. People like my dad should get to stay around for much longer than he did.
So in my sad Fathers-Day-Is-Coming-Blues google search the other day, I came across a YouTube video discussing some very over-my-head motorcycle mechanics. The man who posted the video was commenting with others and pointed out a unique way to do some form of motorcycle maintenance that used zip ties. He named my father as the man who taught him this technique and wrote, “RIP.”
For the record, my dad loved zip ties so this doesn’t surprise me. I’m sure he used them for rigging lots of things around the house and in the garage, which was his second home. He was also really good with mechanics and loved tinkering and building and fixing motorcycles. I always think of him when I get chain grease on my hands or ride the same hills of Florida he loved cruising, both of us on two wheels. His motorized, mine with a slightly less powerful engine.
The video I found had been posted two years ago, along with the poster’s comment. I figured it was a long shot to comment, so I went to see if he had newer stuff. He did and so I returned to the original video and left him a comment. I told him who I was and thanks for the shout out. He responded that he was proud to have known my father and that they would “bench race” at the gas station a lot of local motorcyclists met up at. That particular bench now has a plaque on it that his family, and his friends had engraved and mounted there as a memorial.
I’m so happy I found something “new” about my dad. I know the Internet well is drying up because he’s been gone for seven years now but I’m comforted that there are people out there whom I’ve never met that still think about my dad.
I want to wish all of you a Happy Father’s Day. Please remember to tell your loved ones, blood or otherwise, what they mean to you and make every moment count.