Anyway, I’m not a boy anymore. I’m braver, and I’m happier, and I’ve learned a lot about me. I’ve known happiness in many different forms. And kindness. Today, I am a grown-up. A skinny, long-legged redhead with freckles.

Louisiana—I’m driving a sunny highway. The weather is perfect. The cane fields are brilliant green.

I am going to visit my father’s grave.

I still have a long way left to go—four more states left, to be exact.

Louisiana highways are jagged. When I was eighteen, I drove these highways to Dallas in a ‘79 Ford. The uneven roads were so bad they nearly rattled my truck apart and gave me permanent drain bamage.

Daddy rests fourteen thousand feet above sea-level in Colorado. His ashes are part of a mountainside. We scattered him when I was a boy. I’m embarrassed to say that I haven’t been back since.

Throughout my adult life, I’ve meant to visit, but I haven’t. I don’t know why.

My father was a stick welder. He traveled wherever work was good. Work led him to Colorado, as a young man. He lived there in a trailer. He always said he loved that period of his life.

He used to talk about those days and tell me things that I was too young to understand:

“Every man needs to find himself,” he once told me. “And that mountain’s where I found me. When I die, it’s where I wanna be scattered.”

He only said it in passing, but it was stenciled into my mind.

Mama said he lost weight in Colorado. She said he ate a steady diet of canned beans and beer. When Mama went to visit him, she said he was so skinny he only needed one back pocket.

She tried to fatten him up, but that was impossible. Daddy was a long-legged, red headed sack of bones. He had freckles that weighed more than he did.

I was angry with him after he pulled his own curtain. I wasn’t furious, mind you. I felt the same kind of anger you’d feel when you bite your tongue by accident—you’re more disappointed than angry.

And that’s why I haven’t been back, I guess. Going up his mountain would’ve been like biting my tongue all over again.

I’m getting off topic here.

The point is, I didn’t just NOT visit him all those years, I went out of my way to avoid him. Once, I travelled out West, it cost a small fortune. I was there two weeks. I’d planned on seeing his resting place, but I changed my mind when I got there.

So, I drove right by him. I went to Flagstaff, Arizona, instead. I rented a room at a motor inn. I bought a few souvenirs. I drove to the Grand Canyon. I sipped a beer. I cried. I chewed a lot of sunflower seeds. I visited a few antique stores.

Then, I went back home.

I feel ridiculous about that. I still do. Of course, I WANTED to see Daddy, but sometimes I do dumb things.

Maybe I didn’t want to remember certain parts of my life. After all, the last time I saw my father, he’d lost his mind. It’s a long story—one I don’t mind telling, but not here.

My last moment with him happened at two in the morning. His hands were interlaced behind his head, he was walking toward the blue lights of a sheriff’s car. Officers tackled him. Lots of yelling. Guns drawn.

They put him in the backseat. I saw his face through the window. He stared at me, but he couldn’t wave because of the handcuffs. And that was the last time I saw his face.

I don’t know, maybe that was more than you wanted to read.

Anyway, I’m not a boy anymore. I’m braver, and I’m happier, and I’ve learned a lot about me. I’ve known happiness in many different forms. And kindness. Today, I am a grown-up. A skinny, long-legged redhead with freckles.

I’m a big kid who remembers when a smart, but misunderstood man once told me that every man needs to find himself.

Four more states to go.

I’m sorry it took me so long, Daddy.

41 comments

  1. Leslie in NC - May 28, 2018 7:41 am

    Oh Sean, I wish you tender mercies on your trip to visit your father’s mountain. As I’m sure you already know, it had to be when you were ready and on your terms. I pray you keep the good memories of your dad tucked safely away in your heart. Safe travels, my friend.

    Reply
  2. Marilyn - May 28, 2018 11:16 am

    Sometimes in life we have to take a giant step back before making a small step forward. Good thoughts and prayers Sean. 💕🙏

    Reply
  3. CaroG87 - May 28, 2018 11:29 am

    Wishing you every grace you’ll need. And don’t be surprised if you hear your daddy speak to you when you get there. And all along the way.

    Reply
  4. Kathy - May 28, 2018 11:32 am

    Sean, your Daddy understands. ❤️

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  5. Connie Havard Ryland - May 28, 2018 11:36 am

    God bless you on your journey Sean. Sending love and hugs. I hope you find peace.

    Reply
  6. Beth Ann - May 28, 2018 12:02 pm

    As always you touched my heart with your words. I wish you well on your trip with Jamie and Thelma Lou and hope that you find some peace along the way. God Bless.

    Reply
  7. Jewell Wyay - May 28, 2018 12:12 pm

    Sean God Loves you and he loved your dad God crested your dad and He understood him God Bless you and safe travels I love your sweet soul and so do many others God made you special I feel loved when I read your articles keep writing and sharing your heart and love 🙏❤️

    Reply
  8. Coors By gallon - May 28, 2018 12:13 pm

    Don’t forget the cold beer, for your chat. He may understand your tardiness. But he probably won’t understand you forgetting the beer. I mean, heck fire! You’re in Colorado.

    Reply
  9. Mickey - May 28, 2018 12:16 pm

    Often it takes a long time to reconnect with those who we love, who have angered or disappointed us, but in the finding, there is peace.

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  10. Barbara Pope - May 28, 2018 12:19 pm

    You have definitely found yourself–wouldn’t he be proud!

    Reply
  11. C.F. David - May 28, 2018 12:36 pm

    Have no idea where in Colorado you go, but you can get there through Cimarron County Oklahoma. If you pass through Boise City, hollar.
    C.F. David

    Reply
  12. Bobbie - May 28, 2018 1:07 pm

    Prayers for your “journey”, Sean.

    Reply
  13. Edna B. - May 28, 2018 1:08 pm

    I wish you and your Dad a peaceful visit. He loves you, you know. You’ve made him very proud to call you son. You have a safe trip, hugs, Edna B.

    Reply
  14. Kim kilgore - May 28, 2018 1:11 pm

    GODSpeed and safe return…..

    Reply
  15. Heidi - May 28, 2018 1:12 pm

    Sometimes you have to face hard truths about someone you love to lead you to where you’re meant to be. Everyone has their own path. So glad Jamie and Thelma Lou are with you on this journey. You’re going to feel such a weight lifted when this is done. Blessings.

    Reply
  16. Judy Ennis - May 28, 2018 1:22 pm

    While on this journey, I’m sure you will meet many people with stories for you to share with us your avid followers. Hope the road is good to you and you have good company in the passenger seat!

    Reply
  17. Carol Houston Rothwell - May 28, 2018 1:22 pm

    Sean,you didn’t have to go find him, he’s with you always ,Don’t you hear him talking to you? And I know you see him in the mirror a lot now, especially the older we get!
    He never leaves you,for whatever reason things happened, it wasn’t about you!
    Never feel like you have to travel anywhere to find him….he’s in your heart!
    And he loves you!!
    I Love ya!

    Reply
  18. Marlo Kirkpatrick - May 28, 2018 1:27 pm

    For many reasons I won’t go into here, I’ve never visited my father’s grave, either. It’s only three hours away. I was a daddy’s girl. He’s been gone 27 years. Maybe it’s time I make the trip. I hope you’ll let us know how it goes for you.

    Reply
  19. Nix LaVerdi - May 28, 2018 1:41 pm

    Beautiful, Sean. Have a trips that heals you. We do things when we are ready to do them, simple as that. Much Love, Nix

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  20. Pat - May 28, 2018 2:01 pm

    I hope you can find comfort and understanding when you visit your father.

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  21. Kathy Daum - May 28, 2018 2:06 pm

    Peace to you.

    Reply
  22. janiesjottings - May 28, 2018 2:07 pm

    I understand the not visiting your Dad’s resting place Sean. My mother’s life was taken by the husband I begged her not to marry. Her death was senseless. I will always love her but I don’t visit her grave very often. Maybe 3 or 4 times in 21 years. I think that deep down it’s because I’m still angry at her for not seeing what everyone else in her life saw. I think it’s an act of self preservation. I hope you enjoy your visit with your daddy!

    Reply
  23. Alan Brock - May 28, 2018 3:18 pm

    Safe journey. I know what your dad meant by the mountains. It took me a long time to finally get here. I live in Ouray, CO. surrounded by snow capped mountains. You might say I was born again. That’s a John Denver line.😎

    Reply
  24. Camille - May 28, 2018 3:58 pm

    Sean, I feel as though I am getting to know your dad and I am so glad that I am. Thank you for allowing us into your life and into your dad’s story. Your and our dad’s story has been and is very healing for many of us. Safe travels and I know Jamie and Thelma Lou are a real comfort on a journey such as this.

    Reply
  25. Betty - May 28, 2018 4:45 pm

    Sean, I think when you reach “your Dad’s mountain” you will find that he has been with you all the time. May you leave with a peace that fills your heart. Safe travels for you all.

    Reply
  26. Jan - May 28, 2018 4:56 pm

    We all have those journeys to make. Sometimes they are physical journeys and sometimes we travel in our minds. You can’t make that journey until you are ready. May God bless you on your journey, Sean.

    Reply
  27. Susan Parker - May 28, 2018 5:09 pm

    Big hugs from me to you, Sean! God be with you on your journey to your Daddy’s mountain. May He flood your heart with memories far beyond those last days with your Daddy. <3

    Reply
  28. Sandi in FL. - May 28, 2018 5:55 pm

    Sending peaceful, comforting thoughts and warm hugs to you on this difficult road trip.
    Something very good will come from it. You’re the type of person who leaves sparkle and sunshine wherever you go. Stay positive.

    Reply
  29. Minnie Bourque - May 28, 2018 6:03 pm

    fSean, we all do and have done things we regret. The best thing is that you realized it and did as you knew you should. Your dad understood, I firmly believe. they always do. God Bless on this beautiful Memorial Day. Truly love your writings. Thanks!!

    Reply
  30. Roxanne - May 28, 2018 7:17 pm

    Bless you. Bless you. Bless you. Bless you. Bless you for living. Bless you for trying. Bless you for talking about it. Bless you for finding a way to forgive your father the disappointment and heartache he caused you and your mom and sister. Bless you for keeping the good and throwing away the bad. Most of all God bless your on your trip– the one to Colorado, and the one around the sun for as many days as you travel it.

    Reply
  31. Sue Ann Holmes - May 28, 2018 8:53 pm

    Blessings to you as you visit your daddy.

    Reply
  32. Linda Sorger - May 28, 2018 10:15 pm

    Please subscribe me.

    Reply
  33. Sue Cronkite - May 28, 2018 11:55 pm

    Hard to write, but necessary.

    Reply
  34. Jack Quanstrum - May 29, 2018 12:38 am

    Very interesting and informative. Unique!

    Reply
  35. Jack Darnell - May 29, 2018 4:23 am

    i LIKE IT, KEEP DRIVING!

    Reply
  36. Anna - May 29, 2018 9:04 am

    I would love to hear the story.

    Reply
  37. Beth - May 29, 2018 1:39 pm

    God bless you Sean!

    Reply
  38. Leigh in Stone Mountain has - May 30, 2018 12:19 am

    Please don’t be sorry. There is absolutely no point in going until you are ready…. none. I’m old, i know these things. Peace, Sean, peace ❤️

    Reply
  39. Nancy - May 30, 2018 1:05 am

    Keep writing, Sean. People need stories and connections. Safe travels and sweet blessings for your journey.

    Reply
  40. Nancy Blair P - May 30, 2018 2:41 am

    There is not one person with a heart who hasn’t felt pain, regret, sorrow or shame. Aren’t these the same things that allow us to feel elation, love, joy and gratitude? To know the difference is to know love. We all travel at our own speed from one to the other. You know when you are there. Peace to you.

    Reply
  41. muthahun - May 31, 2018 3:14 am

    Be well, travel safely, take care of each other. Sending light. S/

    Reply

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