My father’s face is staring back at me
by Rick Watson
Mar 16, 2014 | 1128 views | 0 0 comments | 115 115 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Rick Watson
Rick Watson
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I got up earlier than usual today. Jilda and I both had doctor appointments, so I slipped out of bed and jabbed the brew button on the coffeemaker with a sleepy finger before heading to the bathroom to get ready.

As I splashed hot water from the sink on my face to shave around my beard, steam fogged the glass, so I wiped it with the heel of my hand.

Once the mirror cleared, I leaned in close to get a better look and realized I was shaving my father’s face.

The thought took me aback for a moment. So many times as a kid, I saw my lather-faced dad lean in close to the mirror scrunching his face this way and that to get at all the hard to reach places.

Last week, the title of my column was things get older, but the focus was on “things” and not people. Seeing my father’s face in my foggy mirror made the fact clear that I’m getting older, too.

I’m within a few days of how old he was when he died in May 1986. That’s a sobering thought.

The question that comes to mind for me is: Where did the time go? I can read back through my journals and look at the thousands of pictures that document my life, and know I wasn’t magically teleported by the mirror from 1964 until today, but it doesn’t seem as though it’s been 50 years.

Another piece of evidence that shows my age is an article I read today about the Ford Mustang turning 50 this month.

I remember seeing my first Ford Mustang in late March 1964.

I was in junior high school at Dora, and one morning as I walked toward the concession stand, which stood at the side of the old stone gym, I saw the Mustang glide up the hill and back gracefully into a slot toward the end of the parking lot.

The morning sun glinted off the front bumper for an instant and it was almost like the flash of a Kodak Brownie camera. Even today, that image is as clear as a picture from my photo box.

Apparently I wasn’t the only person to notice it because by the time I reached the end of the lot, there were a dozen other guys drawn toward that metallic blue beauty.

It was stunningly beautiful to me and unlike anything I’d ever seen. I fell in love with that car.

The picture in the mirror and the Mustang memory were solemn reminders that life is short.

When I look back, most of the things I wrote on my bucket list 10 years ago are still there hanging on my office wall. Very few of the things have been marked off the list.

Someday has arrived.

I think if my dad were alive today, he’d be the first to say, “Son, time gets away. You need to do the things that are important to you now.”