Good morning Dad! This is Scotty Richard and here are a few good remembrances of mine.
Remember when I was born, family and others commented on how your likeness of your DNA was carved into my appearance and that has definitely helped me to waltz through the adventures of this life!!! As I look throughout your life of almost 84 years on earth, you have two dimensions, one of action and contemplation. You have always been a man of the outdoors as when you began your journey of this Davis clan through your simple walks through the campus of Bates college where you fell in love with mom sharing those special moments together.
I know looking back at your life that it has not been easy, but the one thing that I find remarkable is how you have been a role model for me in how to live a life of dignity and courage facing the many obstacles that you did. Even though you were not born with a full-deck of cards, you provided me lessons to live by. As I faced my own struggles as a handicapped person, I could look at how you handled things in life as my first mentor of handicaps. You taught me how it is important to be a team member as you worked with mom to get through the many challenges that you faced each day. Your various handicaps of deafness, parkinsons and dementia were not able to get you down. This helped me to come out of my shell and to be less reserved. You always worked hard and dedicated many long evenings to your work keeping the desk lamp on until your work is done- the same desk as my grandfather's and now mine.
Dad I know you have waited a long time to make this final journey. Just as you had to wait almost 4 days for Randy and I to arrive at Gosnell Hospice to say our final farewells to you.
You have always loved the ocean and the outdoors of Maine . In a few moments, you will get to leave your room and rest upon the shores of Portland after your private cruise with Mr. Hobbes and be able to swim anywhere without having to ask for directions or follow rules!! . Remember Mom's conversation that if you swim straight out, you will reach Portugal's shores. And no need for a shower or for cotton in your ears either.
You were a simple man who connected with me through a simple deck of cards and a pool table.
We shared many a great gin game from when I was your student at Newingtons that became an ongoing gin tournament from Connecticut, Maine, Minnesota and Arizona. As we have played our games through these thirty-two years, it is hard to believe that they have ended. What I loved most about these games is how you held and arranged your hands and played each one creating an expectation of whether your discard would lead to a knock, a gin or a chance for me to take another turn.
The most memorable time for me was when we were at assisted living and you announced a new version you invented: the abridged game -whoever wins the hand wins the game!!! Now that is the new simplified math!!!! Sorry Hoyle's. Meet Walt's rules. I would love to see what your latest rendition of gin is, but I will have to wait until I reach the other side of the shores of heaven. I will surely keep those cards warm. By then you will surely be an expert at it!!!!
You were a good pool shark who played exceptionally well even with a bandaged hand. I remember a trick shot where you were able to reach from behind your back and shot a ball that jumped over several others and leapt on to the floors. That afternoon, you kept me waiting as you sunk four balls in a row!! .
While growing up in Fairfield, I remember the times that you wore your red plaid apron and cooked me breakfasts of oatmeal and eggs. Of how you struck the wooden spoon against the metal pan and placed the spoon on the saucer, awaiting the two minutes for the perfectly cooked breakfast. Those moments together in our warm kitchen with the earth toned wall paper and the gentle light lit from the table. What a great way to start my long day ahead- whether at school or at work. How I miss those mornings that we used to spend together.
I fondly remember the times that we got to spend together as a family on the Rascal W during our fishing journeys catching all kinds of fish, whether Mackeral, pollock, sea squid or dogfish shark. We all hauled in many of them in our buckets, some of which we carved up and cooked up fresh and some we left on our front lawn, where gulls feasted upon the delicacies from the seas only to be chased away by Tinkerbell. Then there were the times we spent exploring the Maine lighthouses and the seals and the sunsets. And remember the time when you swallowed the wake and nearly drowned Uncle Lenny. And when we fished with Bruce and his family and ran into the school of pollock that kept getting caught on our lines.
I got my first on sea driving lesson from you and enjoyed those times, Dad, when you got up from your blue seat of our boat and let me throttle her forward and ply a wake into the waters. What an exhilerating feeling to get those mornings on the Sheepscot River and to have you gently remind me to stay on the correct side of the channel and to watch out for the lobster pot buoys. A much safer way to pilot as you kept watch!!
One of my first summers, you let me go down to the Pratt's Island Dock alone and row in Cozy Harbor during an August afternoon. I hopped into the rowboat that afternoon and unhitched the rope from the dock and began rowing uneventfully. A few moments later, I rowed in between several large, looming docked cruisers and heard my oar lock snap from the side of the rowboat. There I was alone, in the middle of the harbor and I began to row in circles . It took me several hours to make it back to shore and was a memorable way to spend my first time alone on the waters of Maine. And you expertly handled the repair of that oarlock and helped me gain family fame.
Dad, our last series of correspondence was coincidental when I sent you a father's day card featuring several row boats at a dock and then two weeks later, I received a birthday card with rowboats in it as well celebrating my solo journey.
Another episode of a father-son journey that I remember fondly is that of our journey fishing during an extended period of fog. On this one morning, we both thought the fog was gone for good. We started into our fishing only to discover that fog was quickly enveloping us. As a fourteen year old, I trusted whatever adventure we set upon. You trusted your gut instincts as a sailor as we patiently made our way through the channel into Cozy Harbor. It was wonderful to see Hendricks Head Light to our left as we passed into the harbor. Her lifting up her gaze to us assured us of our safe passage home. Your expert navigation even surprised our anxious mom as she waited patiently by the dock for our return.
As I prepared to say my final farewells to you dad on November 4th, Mom and Randy and I ate at Tim Horton's and shared in your favorite meal:a chicken salad sandwich, chicken noodle soup and apple cider with a sugar glazed donut. Afterwards, as I sat by your bedside, I shared what I ate and how you loved it. As I was sharing with you and looked down at your left hand, I saw your simple wedding ring on your finger. Mom commented that you have always kept it on and would even have it on as you were prepared to return to the earth. Demonstrating a sense of bravery and loyalty. When we left that evening, Mom turned on the light in your room and as we left the hospice, we saw the light glowing through the window in your room. A very good and comforting reminder of your love for us.
I look back to the last words that we spoke on the phone one weekday and you told me to keep on plugging. That prepared me through the various trials that have occurred since our conversation from your moves between Maine's health care systems.
Remember the conversation that you had with the hospital nurse and how you had an uncanny ability to guess her age at 42 and were correct!!! And how you turned to me and tossed that ball to me from your bed and turned to me and smiled when you saw me wearing your favorite sweater. And mom told those in your room, "Once a numbers man, always a numbers man!"
The past few days have been both pleasant and bittersweet as I have looked over our journeys as a family and loved being part of 46 years of your almost 84 years living in the beauty of the Earth.
At times, you were an expert of losing things in life. But you finally developed it to an art form at Holbrook when your sneakers and walker disappeared. I know what happened to them. You cleverly stashed them away so that when you announced to the hospice nurse that you were packing your bags for you trip . Very clever way to plan for your final trip. Now that mystery has been solved. Probably won't need that walker. But always good to have it as you are learning to walk on the streets of gold.
Now we are about to eat a spread of food that you would have loved. Dad, I will miss you but I look for you on the other side in the magic sparkles on the waters and on the crest of the waves as the wind wraps around our faces. Have a grand adventure as you surely have lived one as well!!!