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All the Wonders

Thinking of Dad

Charlie, c. 1957

I am thinking of you today, Dad,

On this day when you crossed through the thin space

To join the saints who had preceded you:

Mom, Holt, Ida Mae, Bill ...


You had been leaving us for a long time

As bits and pieces of your memory slowly slipped away.

"A blessing, really," is what we all said of your passing.

But that did not take away the grief that we felt.


I remember the first time you did not remember who I was.

We were having dinner at the kitchen table.

You had been looking at me, and then

You finally asked me who I was.

I said, "I'm your daughter.

"You turned to Anna to see if it was true.

She said, "Yes. That's your daughter."

"I have a daughter?" you said in surprise.

But you took it all in as I told you who was:


Beth, your daughter.

Writer of books and liturgy.

Singer of songs.

Clergy in The United Methodist Church.

Worker at The Upper Room.

(You remembered The Upper Room.)


You were so happy

That you had a daughter.

So proud of who I had become.

And I was so happy

At your delight.


And so, we started our new ritual

Carried out in person, on the phone,

In which I would introduce myself to you

And you would be surprised ... delighted!


And I was blessed with your love, your happiness,

And your affirmation

Over and over and over again.

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