Sitting on the front porch
with Daddy in the summer twilight,
was always one of my favorite times.
He’d smoke a couple of unfiltered
Camel cigarettes and I would watch
in fascination as the blue smoke
curled its way upward into the almost
We lived on the corner of a street
where cars drove by with fair frequency.
We played “slug bug” where if we saw a
VW Beetle, we would “slug” each other.
Our slugs were actually not slugs though.
They were more like pats on the back.
Daddy always let me win, but when you’re
only five years old, you don’t see that.
As the twilight deepened and the stars
came out in all their beautiful glory,
we would turn our gazes from cars to stars.
Daddy would point out the North Star,
the Big Dipper, the Little Dipper, and
other constellations every time.
His hand would draw the lines so I could
see the constellations clearly.
I would giggle and say I saw every single one.
I never did though. Ok, I saw the North Star.
The rest? I just said I did because I loved
spending time with Daddy and listening to his
quiet, sure voice in the darkness.
I loved him so much that I listened for hours,
over the rest of his lifetime, to explanations
on how car engines worked, highways were built,
how he performed soil samples on those highway projects,
or how life was when he was a cotton farmer.
A little, bitty girl and her middle-aged dad,
sitting on the porch,
watching cars and stars,
and building a life of security, fun,
knowledge and, most of all, love.