Dear Clark

Monday, December 9, 2013 | 4 Comment(s)

Dear Clark,

I don't have one specific memory of your father.  This is partially because our time spent over Martin Luther King weekends in DC were awash with such torrents of laughter, picking one guffaw from the bunch doesn't do justice to the magic of those weekends.   Yes, I saw your father dressed up as a French maid.  And yes, it was a very confusing moment for me, because when your father put his mind to it, he could be a gorgeous looking woman.  Stunning really.

What I do remember about Scotty, over and above everything else, was his open-mouthed smile.  When you father laughed, it could not be contained inside his body.  Every little chuckle moved him thoroughly enough to cause his head to fly back, allowing safe passage for the musicality of his forthcoming laughter.  And he laughed.  He laughed so much.  With everyone.

Clark, I want you to know that your father was special.  Not only because he is your father who saw you as his moon and stars (your mother is his sun, btw), but because of how he chose to live.  Your father saw the potential for both greatness and great fun inside everyone he met.  And he went after it.   Instead of poking and prodding in the darkness, looking for the soft and broken pieces inside us all, you father cheered and supported whatever nugget of pride he could pan from his soon to be new friend's emotional river.  Before you knew it, the two of you would be upstairs together, sorting through theatrical presentations of second-hand clothes, dreamscapes of ultimate frisbee on bicycles, and laughter-mobiles hung with hugs and cuddling.  Your father was special because in a world filled with darkness and hate, he needed sunglasses to keep all the positivity he perceived from burning his eyes.

Clark, Scotty cut a path through this life armed only with his openness to joy.  Where others find comfort in the cul-de-sac of what they already know, your father raced forward on the idea that there might be something so unbelievably beautiful and new and previously undiscovered just over in the next town; so we better get a move on cause there isnt time to wait.  It was inspiring to watch. His unmistakable lust for life influenced others, myself included.  Watching the ease with which your father negotiated the commonplace anxieties that I so often allow to ruin my otherwise perfectly good days, made me rethink the immense power of positivity.  I worry less because I knew your dad.  I can't think of a higher compliment.

Clark.  A lot of people are going to tell you your dad was goofy.  And he was.  What I want you to know is that goofy is one of those words we use to describe people who have unburdened themselves of unreasonable expectations.  Someone who is not merely content, but ecstatically enthusiastic at the prospect of having today, no matter what that reality may be.  Clark, your father was thankful every day I knew him, just for the opportunity to be there, with you or me or whomever -- for that moment in time.

Clark.  When I heard your father passed away, it was a profoundly sad moment.  There were, and still are, a good deal of tears to be shed.  I'm sure you're seeing this a lot at the moment.  From me, I want you to know that I am not sad for your father.  I am so endlessly proud of him.  He lived a life electric. He projected every atom of that existence outward, and in doing so gained the love of the universe.

Clark, your dad was a superhero.  No cape, no X-ray vision, but an unparalleled ability to love.  And while my tears attempt to form both the flowing river and the raft on which you could spend endless summers floating serenely with your father, I take some measure of solace knowing that he gave you his greatest gift of all.  Cause when I see you in those pictures, smile so wide your mouth just has to  open, I know that Scotty poured all of that ultra-condensed super-powered love into you big guy.  He gave you the smile he knew the world still needs.