On August 22nd my husband, Joe and I were on a four hour car drive listening to The Moth. It’s become something we love to do together as we ride along laughing and sometimes crying. The Father’s Day special happened to be replaying, in which seemed fitting since Joe’s father was dying from an aggressive brain tumor.
David Kendall was telling his story of how he found his love of music by listening to the likes of Chuck Berry in the evenings with his father. He spoke of how he knew he was being introduced to something special, and a little forbidden given they were from a very Southern Baptist driven community. He spoke of how he cherishes those memories of time spent getting to know his father through learning to have a love of music. David expressed how the song Maybellene by Chuck Berry, forever ingrained a love and passion he wouldn’t have known had it not been for his father. Neither of us had ever heard that song featured in this story.
The following week Joe began to spend every evening at his father’s home. He had been asked to go through the garage. The hope was that Vic would join him, if at least just to be together in company. At this point however, it was too late. As Vic laid in his hospital bed in his living room, Joe began the task of going through his father’s many inventions, tools and curbside findings. Joe discovered the tape cassette player in the corner. He grabbed the first tape he saw, threw it in and it was the unrelenting sound of Maybellene.
Last night was the visitation. A man came through the line, said his condolences and left. He then came back several minutes later straight down the center to my husband. He looked at him and said, ” It just dawned on me that you’re Eddie’s boy.”
I know I’ve been calling Joe’s father Vic. By all accounts Vic is Joe’s father, but there’s a little twist to his family tree. Joe was adopted a couple of generations down the line in his family. By all intents and purposes, Toni and Vic are truly Joe’s parents. However, his biological father is Carl Edward Dickerson; who was killed by a drunk driver, and taken too soon.
This man who came up to Joe told him he was his father’s best friend up until the day he passed. That he has story after story about him. Joe doesn’t know much about Eddie. Joe was just a little confused boy when he was brought into his new family. His biological mother and father suffered with addiction and wounds from the war. Around the time just before Eddie was killed, he was coming back into Joe’s life. My husband has a memory of Eddie pushing him on a swing. Joe has always wondered what their path could have been. The man who came back to tell my husband he knew his biological father, is a treasure to be had. Perhaps he can fill in the unwritten. There has always been a little place in Joe’s heart that has been left blank. Everyone no matter their situation wants to know where they “came from”.
Later that night on the way home Joe told me in the dark of the car that he felt like Vic, his dad, was giving him one last gift.