Sunday, November 13, 2005

Fallen Leaves

Your Dad Misses You...

Lad Moore III--1965--1999

Fall and the holidays were his favorite time of year. When fortunes brought him home for the Thanksgivings of his last years, it was like reliving the times of his boyhood. The scenes were scripted--Macy's Parade as background noise, Mom in her apron fussing in the kitchen, and a really bad Detroit Lions game on TV. The air would be fresh and crisp, and much of the fall color would still be visible in the leaves that danced around the yard. At halftime we were never too old to go outside and throw the football a few times, but nothing like the days of his youth when he and his brother allowed me to be "all-time quarterback". They cut me this honor because as the years went by, I could not keep up with their deep routes and never was much good at catching the ball. My youngest son would fight to the end against his larger brother, often riding him piggyback into the endzone--that invisible line next to the azalia bed. Sometimes the front of his jeans were moist--a little dribble rather than breaking huddle to go inside to the bathroom. Game over, Lad III would irritate his mother by "testing" the turkey before it was time. He was after the crispy part of the golden skin of an always-perfect bird. This was mom's little irritant--which carried a penalty of a soft pat on the offending hand. At precise timing to the "Amen" of the blessing, Lad claimed one of the drumsticks. He needn't have rushed, because nobody ever fought him over it. After all, who wants to contend with those little sword-like splines when staring at a Butterball breast still bubbling its juices?

After the meal came the second game of a double-header--just in time to ease the stress of an overfilled paunch. Most often Texas played A&M. Mostly A&M lost--unless you count the halftime band performance.

Today I approach very different Thanksgivings. Lad III is gone, as is the Texas/A&M game on TV. My youngest usually can't make it here--there are job and mile issues. Maybe the Lions still play that day--I don't know. But my yard will be empty at halftime. That is, except for the leaves--still full of color, and still scurrying in circles in the crisp fall air.