Have you ever watched the sandpipers at Marina Del Rey? Their little bird heads bob back and forth. The thinnest bird legs you’ve ever seen move them quickly across the sand.
All kinds of boats paraded by making their way slowly up the channel, seemingly unnoticed by the sandpipers. It was the mysterious Mauretania that really caught my eye. It was from another time.
I pictured Bogie and Bacall at the piano bar below. I can see Tracy and Hepburn looking out over the stern. Fred and Ginger dancing and singling their way around her romantic deck. I can hear Norma Shearer’s laugh echoing from the quarter deck.
I could see my dad on the Mauretania. Wearing a soft white skipper’s cap with a shiny black brim. Sharp white trousers and deck shoes. He was a snappy dresser. In my mind’s eye, he looked the same as he did in the pictures I remembered of him on his family boat going up and down the Hudson.
Dad during the Depression cleaning the twin engines. Skippering the boat for party rentals. He, grandpa and family out on the boat. He seemed happier then. I never knew him that way. My memories of him were better in pictures.
After making its way past me through the channel, the stately Mauretania turned out to sea. I watched her until she was no longer in sight. I sighed, paused, and reflected. So many mixed memories.
When my dad had nothing left ahead of him, he moved to Nyack where he could see the Hudson from his apartment. I think he was trying to recapture the joy of life that somehow evaded him. He died there.
I turned and started to walk back to the car. But movement on the sand caught my eye. Those little sandpipers were still at it! I smiled at them. Nothing would alter their quick pace or keep them from their destiny.
Once upon a time, there was a dark prince who waged a protracted war against the people. He delighted in ambushes of the mind.
While swords clashed in the heavens, chaos and confusion oppressed the people in the light of day. The enemy sabotaged our highest hopes with deep despair.
Our lives became deserted battlements where hearts smoldered in ruins of rage. And so the story goes.
If this was fantasy, wouldn’t you want to know how it all began? If this was a mystery, wouldn’t you want to know who did it? If this was a comedy, wouldn’t you want the laughter to linger? Certainly, you would!
Lean close. Let me whisper. Macbeth’s end would be too good for this dark prince! I know how this story ends. The dark prince will come for a time, then go, but a people will rise out of the ashes.
How? By the power of Him who breathed life into Man. By the power of Him who raised the Lamb of God. Hear the name of truth and life being spoken softly to the ear of your soul. It is the name of He who was, when history had not yet happened, and the future was fully known.
Like the “emperor with no clothes,” we think we can cast shadows in a dark room. In the light, the scars of our hearts mirror the scars on His hands and feet.
In the park, there’s a fountain with a bronze bird. The bench where he sits doesn’t have his name on it, but it should. This is where he comes on the clear days. He always sits there by the reading fountain.
I never walked through the park before he’d arrive or after he’d left. Definitely his bench! He always wore a plaid cap with a snap in front, cocked way back on his head. And the same sweater.
If I get to be that old, will I wear sweaters in June? The heat doesn’t faze him a bit. He reads as though New York City wasn’t there. He reads now as he wished he could have done years ago.