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Take Another Walk Dad?

Although I have many great memories with my father, as I grew older, I began to appreciate any amount of time I had with him. One of my favorite things to do together, especially on a return visit from college, was go for a walk.

One location we cherished was Caumsett State Park (which is now one of my favorite places to visit, as you can imagine why). The summer before my father passed away, we went to Caumsett one early evening to get out of the house and spend some father and son time. It was a great evening. The sun was warm and bright and slowly setting into the horizon. The colors in the sky appeared to be painted with a brush, each stroke carefully thought of and placed among the strewn clouds. We looked at the heavens and then at each other with astonishment at just how beautiful our view was. One couldn’t have asked for a better evening.

During our walk we discussed a number of topics, but there was one matter we both loved talking about, and that was my imminent return to Long Island. I could only guess at the number of discussions we had over the years about this. The moment the topic was brought up, my father’s eyes “filled” with joy. I felt the same way. I missed being home with my family, perhaps more than I was willing to confess.

For almost a decade and a half, my life was primarily focused on my education. While many of my friends were home spending their summer breaks with friends and family, or getting married and starting a family, I was at a college or university. I admit, my life was atypical than most of my friends, but I have to say, it was my parents support and encouragement which allowed me to stay on course and persevere with each passing year.

I don’t regret this opportunity I’ve been fortunate to experience. But if I had a regret to speak of, it would be over the years I lost with my father. Of course, if I knew his life was coming to a close as it did in 2003, I would have never thought twice about returning home. But knowing my father, even if we knew beforehand that this dreaded disease would fall upon him at the time it did, he would insist that I continue with my schooling. I still have mixed feelings over this and will probably always feel this way for the rest of my life.

As the warm weather is now beginning to return to the northeast, memories of that evening recently came to my mind. I sometimes wish my father would pull up the driveway so we could go back to the park and take another walk together. The image above is a photo I took at Caumsett State Park last year (2004). If you notice (which is almost impossible to recognize), close to the bottom-center, there is a father walking with his son. I couldn’t help but remember the times my dad and I shared at that specific location. I confess - a part of me wanted those two individuals to be us.

Now I wish I could ask just one last time, “Dad, want to take another walk?”