But Dad, that Pacific Ocean is too bloody cold for a skinny kid!
When I was very small and something would make me cry, my father would fold up his long legs like a praying mantis and sit on his haunches and look me in the eye.
"Don't cry," he would say. "Don't you know that tears turn to water vapor?"
This startling observation was always a good trick to stop the spigot. Whatever water vapor was, it seemed to be something that could stop a person from crying.
It was a funny thing to say to a child on many levels. The surprise of it turned into comfort, because he would smile when he said it, and almost every time we would ask him to explain what he meant by that water vapor thing. Then he could teach us about science. But mostly he was using his keen sense of the ridiculous to teach us about the world.
Nothing that bothers you will last forever.
I think about that a lot this spring when I recall that it was just last spring that he died. The first six months were very hard.
And yet now, I can make fun of his goofy, WW II letters to my mother, and ponder the sanity of a man who wonders in letter after letter--while the bombs are falling around him--whether he will buy a Ford or a Chevy when he gets home.
This quirky, brainy, eccentric, volatile, moody, kind-hearted man has traveled through time and once again helped me to see that tears do evaporate. They never stop entirely, thank goodness. But laughter comes more often now.
And I bless him for helping me gain that insight he began to try and impart so very long ago.
Cool socks Pop, especially with that polka dot bow tie!
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