Just a short note: Rusty, in his usual chair, is my co-author while I’m writing at my desk.
In my mid-fifties, I decided I wanted a desk built by my father. He was skilled at wood working and he made beautiful pieces—bookshelves, afghan racks for quilt displays, chairs, and small doll benches for his grandchildren. For years, I had wanted him to make a writing desk for me. Finally, he agreed. “Really simple Dad,” I said as I roughly sketched my idea at their kitchen table. I didn’t want anything more than four legs, one drawer, and an average-sized top. I dreamed of placing it in front of a window, gazing outside as I wrote.
It was a few months before the desk was complete. My mother told me over the phone it was finished. “It’s beautiful,” she said. Living in Arizona with them in Nebraska, I couldn’t wait until my visit the next month to see it. My parents and sister, who was also visiting them, were sitting at the kitchen table when I entered. My mother excitedly said, “It’s in the sunroom,” as if there had been a new baby in the family. We three went into the sunroom, my father following. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was incredible. Made of oak, it had scalloped lines, four small drawers on top, one on both sides and a large one in the middle. A curved foot rest was added. It had been repeatedly varnished and shone like a newly waxed kitchen floor.
And then, my chest tightened, and tears started, soon to become sobbing. My sister and mother had tears, also. “Thank you, Dad,” I repeated over and over. He never directly looked at me and I knew not to hug him, he didn’t like it. I also knew it was his hindered way of attempting to mend the painful, long-lasting relationship we’d had since I was a child; that he could not, nor would he, do anymore to address it.
It was all I could expect of him and it somehow healed a deep wound inside. Once in a great while, I find myself disappointed he didn’t listen to what I wanted, not a fancy one, just a simple desk. He overrode me, but that’s how our relationship was. He had final say. He didn’t know me at all. Still, I am grateful for the desk. It’s a reminder he tried and I was able to forgive. Isn’t that what we all want? To forgive and be forgiven.