most of the anger went out of my heart years ago. my kids did that for me… their unconditional love and coming to understand what it is to be a parent. knowing what a gift that is, i could only feel sadness for you.
you told me once, maybe twice, in a drunken ‘i love you, man’ speech about how you were doing me a favor–staying away. and i let you have your cop-out, because what the fuck am i supposed to say to that? your buddies when they get a chance love to tell me how you are. a handful of stories that i’ve heard a million times. none of which suggested you didn’t have any balls. jumped off the bridge, fought everyone in town, set the truck on fire, almost drowned each of your kids teaching them to water-ski… except for me. i don’t have these stories. you didn’t teach me to play the comb or shoot pool. at best, i got my love of roger miller from you.. my love of the jeep and my praise of the open road. we probably shared these things and much more. i just wouldn’t know it. it seems you knew well how to live in the moment with what life brought to you. i can appreciate that. it must be ingrained in the Smith blood and I thank you for it.
still, there is so much more, isn’t there? who you are can be boiled down not to what you enjoy in life, but what you’re willing to sacrifice for. when you’re looking at a person or a situation and you know.. you know it’s going to hurt like a motherfucker and still you say bring it on, bitches. let’s feel the pain. push yourself harder, be better. expect more than should be expected and fail bigger than should be survived and get right back going again.
however long i have left in this life, i’ll be hearing about the various issues i’ve caused my children. knowing me and my ways, yes–there will be plenty. i’ll take it though. i have grit all day long for that. because, i tell ya what.. i see what kind of people they are and i’m proud. prouder than anything, ever. they are because of me and despite me. that’s just how it goes and i’m sorry that you didn’t quite get that. the family tells me that your last bit of time was difficult and i’m happy you are no longer suffering. i’m only sorry i didn’t get to say goodbye..maybe i’ll catch you in the next life..maybe you’ll have bigger balls or i’ll be less scary, who knows. you would laugh right there. that horrendous laugh of yours. and it would make me smile, despite myself. this is how i’ll remember you. roger miller. pool table in the basement. beer in hand. singing, laughing …like this is the only moment, ever, worth being in.