The sports community perpetually evokes the image of Coach V running around the court looking for someone to hug after an unimaginable win. I fell deeply in love with the ethereal spirit of a poet.
On the rare occasions when I found my Dad in his home office, I rested in one of the brown leather chairs in front of his desk. Eventually, he would complete the task at hand and signal that it was my turn. I openly communicated my teenage comings and goings so that he would be up to date in my constantly unfolding saga. He displayed his amusement as we giggled over some outrageous tale he would share from his youth. He could artfully tell a story and seemed to delight in the recollections as much as I did.
Inevitably he would grab a bulky antiquated book of poetry. Dickinson, Kipling, and Cummings added depth to our private conversations. Although I lacked the experience to grasp more profound meanings of those beautifully written stanzas, my joy rested solely in witnessing his face come alive as his theatrical voice recited each turn of phrase. His public persona evaporated. Gone were the perfectly timed quips replaced by an authentic vulnerability. I had always been jealous of the players, coaches, and public that swallowed up every part of him. Had I known these special meetings would be so few, I would have lingered longer.
I will be eating a piece of cake and reading one of our favorite poems to celebrate what would have been my Dad's 76th birthday.