Dad in a ratty sport coat

I have read on multiple occasions that there’s nothing more boring than having someone tell you their dreams. That, and retelling something funny that happened and you just had to be there, never pan out for the listener. So, eh, sorry.

I wanted to record this one because A. I want to start recording all of the special dream-visit dreams and B. This one was about my father, who transitioned after a Glioblastoma brain tumor back when I was pregnant with Rockinrolla, in October of 1996. I haven’t dreamed about him much.

A bit of background: My father was the exact opposite of a fashion plate. He couldn’t have cared less about the clothes he put on his body. Suits from decades past, thick polyester ties, no iron shirts, elastic waist khakis and shorts, white socks with loafers. He just didn’t care. His nod to style was the meticulous maintenance of his comb-over (my mom cut his hair, because he was afraid a barber would whack off that eight inch curtain of ginger brown hair) and thorough shellacking with Aqua-net. And the daily grooming of his bushy, full beard. He’d just as soon pine for a cashmere sweater or fancy sport coat as, say, a Precious Moments collectible thimble. A new welder or jigsaw for his shop, though, or the hydraulic lifts for the boat and Sea Doo, now that would get his juices going.

Priorities that were hard for my painfully clothes-conscious teenage self to swallow: You’re going out in public? Wearing THAT? with ME?? But now, of course, I think it’s pretty awesome that he had his passions and didn’t give two hoots for spending money on his clothes.

On to the dream. Short and very sweet:

We (my dad and mother and, I think, my mother-in-law)* were in Nashville for an overnight festive family event** on Christmas eve. We were going to stay in a nice hotel and go to a sculpture garden or art museum or something, and out to a nice dinner, and then to a Christmas morning church service.

My mother and Grandma L. walked ahead of my dad and me. He was wearing a faded black cotton sport coat over a v-neck sweater. The coat was way too tight and short, and the shoulder seams were ripping open.***

I thought how like him it was to not even notice what he had on, and then thought that maybe he would like something nicer to wear, he just didn’t want to spend money on himself and would rather buy stuff for our family that he thought was more important. I decided to buy him a fancy new sport coat; I’d sneak in while he was sleeping and measure him from shoulder to shoulder and his sleeve length so I’d get the perfect fit. A subtle, woodsy plaid, I thought, would be nice. I was really excited about giving him that.

We walked with our arms around each other on the cold sidewalk, and it felt so good to squeeze his ribs and feel his arm around me. He was laughing and smiling and incredibly, perfectly happy. He looked so great, comb-over and all. I started crying in my dream, just weeping, as I was feeling how much we loved each other and looking at his happy face. Why am I crying? I kept asking myself. This is wonderful. This is perfect. Why am I crying?

* My brother is absent. Where is my brother?

** Zero basis in reality for this trip. Stay in a nice hotel an hour from home, just because it’s festive? Surely you jest. Also, we didn’t go to church with any regularity after I was in late elementary school.

*** He never wore anything THAT bad.

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dream journaling

I haven’t had a dream of Ward in a very long time, it seems, but this was definitely a special one.

Dream interpreters, put your hats on and tell me what you think:

I was swimming in a very beautiful outdoor place. It may have been a very slow river, or else a long lake.  The water was crystal clear, warm, and buoyant, so I just effortlessly swam through it.  It felt wonderful: I was aware during the dream that this is a special, rare, not-quite-earthly place.

Plants grew on the banks and sunlight sparkled on the water.  Daddy J was there with me, swimming up ahead, but we didn’t interact.  Where we entered the water, there were no other people, but as I swam down to the right I encountered more and more people.  Everyone was swimming for the joy of it, not for exercise. 

There was a row of people doing a kind of synchronized swimming, swimming underwater toward the bank like Rockettes kicking one by one, and I swam on top as they dove under me.  One of them griped good-naturedly about “sharks” (people like me, just swimming past) going through their paths, but he wasn’t really angry.

There was a dead bird in the water, a big white swan or goose.  It was floating, not boody or gory or anything, and no one was disturbed.  A mother went by it with her baby and let him look at it.  I remember thinking that it was just a dead bird, and it was natural for it to be in the water, and it wasn’t hurting anything.

I came up to a more crowded shore.  Not unpleasantly crowded, but full of people wading in and smiling.  I asked someone why everyone was crowded in here, when it was more beautiful and not crowded at all back where I had come from, and he said that the mothers liked to give their children fresh spring water from the pipe (he pointed to it) with cherries for a refreshment after they swam.

***edited to add: So, yeah, in hindsight this one was pretty transparent.  But a very, very nice and comforting dream nonetheless.  I love dreams where you actually feel stuff; in this case it was the water on my skin, and the light sparkling on the water was really beautiful.

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