Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Celebration of Memories

Today would be my father's 67th birthday. I searched last night for some more pictures of my dad on my computer and realized that a lot of them are actually still on Scott's computer and in hard, developed picture format. Being almost midnight and needing to go to sleep, I found a picture (and a couple of movie clips) that brought back a great memory.

This is my dad's hand. That, of course, is a baby turtle. This was one of the last times my dad and I had some real one on one face time together and it developed into a beautiful memory for me.

I guess this was May or August, I was visiting my parents in Carlsbad, NM and my dad and I were on the back porch one morning, drinking coffee, my dad sitting down, me standing, looking out into the back yard, rambling on about something, when a baby turtle came meandering onto the porch. My dad, being the biologist and lover of nature he was, sat up and slowly leaned over in his seat to get a better look at the little guy. I, living in a land of concrete and missing nature, slowly backed away, then ran into the house to get the camera. I came back outside and there was my dad, looking over the little fellow, like a protector or probably to the turtle, a large tree branch. I took some pictures and then turned on the video camera. I filmed the little guy walking along the porch. You can here the birds cooing in the background, you can almost feel the air. I made 2 short videos. My father, of course, said nothing, but just sat there listening to me babble for the camera like I was on some nature show (but due to the adorableness of it all, my voice was up an octave). After the turtle began to take off back into the grass of our backyard, my dad got up from his chair and calmly walked over, bent down, and picked him up. I could tell my dad didn't want this moment to be over and wanted the baby turtle to stick around a bit longer. He then, in his dad way, explained to me the markings on the turtle, and how there were still some soft places cause he was so young - which is something my dad had done before with other turtles. Then, said, "Here, now take a picture, you can really see him much better." And the result is the above picture.

This memory also reminded me of the time I learned from my dad that some lizards' tails come off for protection from predators. When, I was about 4 or 5, my dad and I collected the lizards that ran around our apartment complex. My dad always told me not to grab them by the tail. So, one day I asked - why daddy? My dad took me outside to the tank where we kept the lizards, picked one up, then grabbed it by it's tail only. The tail detached and the lizard ran away free. I, of course, screamed, like...well... a little girl. My dad showed me the still wriggling tail in his fingers and told that it was just the tail and the lizard was fine. I, being the sick little monkey back then that I am now, thought that was pretty cool and then he began to chase me, both of us laughing, around the house with this detached lizard tail and also got my mom involved, by chasing her around with the tail. Of which she would laugh and yell - "Ron, now, quit it. Throw that thing away." Once the tail stopped moving of it's own fruition, my dad took it outside and tossed it. A few days later, I was with my dad and a lizard came crawling up. It had a little stub of a a tail. My dad showed me and said - "See, this lizard lost his tail and it's growing back. He's just fine."

And, my dad, yet again, is right.

Happy Birthday Dad.

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