Friday, October 8, 2010

Dad Pays a Visit

So here was the topic of many conversations around the Sunday Dinner table.

Last thanksgiving we put together the usual cast of characters to forge the Thanksgiving festivities of yesteryear knowing that the task was daunting in the absence of our patriarch.

Not only was it a particularly difficult time finding somebody else in the 30 years of tradition to carve the bird, but knowing that it was hands down the most favorite of holiday for my father as all of his favorite people were under one roof for a fraction of time, and the holiday itself consisted of food and football.

Not a moment was spent not missing him that day, but photos were snapped at seemingly shiny happy people and food and time were consumed in his memory.

Later we got back photos from family friends documenting our day together, and unmistakable evidence of my fathers attendance were revealed. Yes we felt a particularly strong sense that he was with us that day, and yes we discussed it on more than one occasion, but to have what could only be explained as photographic evidence, is bone chilling.

The picture above is Carrie sitting at the throne of my fathers computer chair and the light in the justified left can only be explained in the same manner as all other evidence of apparitions are revealed in television shows like Ghost Hunters and A Haunting.

You must know that the only light source in the room is a desk lamp that would be next to the computer keyboard photo right, opposite of the mysterious light on the photo, and this is not the only photo that this "yellow light" appeared that day.

The owner of the camera assured us that the camera had never produced this affect before or after this day and all other pictures from that day (save for one other) did not have this cosmic cloud.

The only other photo with what we know now to be his spirit was when my mother was writing her time taled tradition of what she was thankful for and deeply remembering how much fun my father had with this exercise and knowing that his wit would be missed this year. I will save this photo for the family.
So it would suit you all to believe that when a presence really needs to be felt, they will show up...and even pose for a picture.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dear Dad-

I am thankful for the incredible stories you both shared and produced, and I am thankful that you gave me a fraction of the talent in which to keep them alive.

Happy Thanksgiving Trail Boss!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Back Porch Makes Me Sad

There's a deck with an awning
A table and some chairs
And the barbecue where he used to stand

We've played cards there till morning
Good times were always there
Small fortunes spent to get the winning hand

But it's the place we mourned our dad.
The back porch makes me sad

It's winter now, and the grapes are gone
The leaves have taken over
But the memories of our laughter can still be heard

Days of drinking and soaking the sun
with family and friends and lovers
Where horseshoes and summer games occurred

But it's the place we mourned our dad
So the back porch makes me sad

Years of positive memories
Can so easily be replaced
As the spirit of the porch has been rewritten

For three days last spring
In silence we faced
A chair where he wouldn't be sitting

I sit there alone now and think of my dad.
And the back porch makes me sad

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Lyrics for Memories and a Heavy Heart

A note to begin this therapeutic post-

I got introduced to this tune the minute I asked my dad what his favorite song was when I was just a wittle boy. It has been the soundtrack to many different memories over the years from camp outs, summer parties, lake houses or just plain watching him shuffle my mom across the kitchen floor. But the final memory will be forever etched as the last. I walked into an dimly lit sanctuary awash in candle light as if I were sent for. With dark shadows consuming the rear pews that day of his funeral I silently watched my dear friend and incredible musician Pam Delgado and her band mate Jerri preparing for their acoustic rendetion to be played at the service later that day.
His spirit was everywhere all at once, and I sat there in the rear pew, safely tucked away in the shadows, and allowed myself to cry for the first time since his passing. It was a good moment that bore physical pain, but one I will always cherish because people I love allowed my dad and I to have a quiet moment alone before a lifetime of rebuilding.

Thank you eternally Pam and Jerri! You are my portal!

(SITTIN' ON) THE DOCK OF THE BAY- written by Otis Redding and Steve Cropper- lyrics as recorded by Otis Redding December 7, 1967, just three days before his death in a plane crash outside Madison, Wisconsin- #1 for 4 weeks in 1968

Sittin' in the mornin' sun
I'll be sittin' when the evenin' come
Watching the ships roll in
And then I watch 'em roll away again, yeah I'm sittin' on the dock of the bay
Watching the tide roll away
Ooo, I'm just sittin' on the dock of the bay
Wastin' time
I left my home in Georgia
Headed for the 'Frisco bay'
Cause I've had nothing to live for
And look like nothin's gonna come my way
So I'm just gonna sit on the dock of the bay
Watching the tide roll awayOoo, I'm sittin' on the dock of the bay
Wastin' time
Look like nothing's gonna change
Everything still remains the same
I can't do what ten people tell me to do
So I guess I'll remain the same, yes
Sittin' here resting my bones
And this loneliness won't leave me alone
It's two thousand miles I roamed
Just to make this dock my home
Now, I'm just gonna sit at the dock of the bay
Watching the tide roll awayOooo-wee, sittin' on the dock of the bay
Wastin' time!

Thank you Pam and Jeri, thank you Otis, thank you Dad!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I Miss.....

Every Wednesday morning our trash is picked up, so rightfully so, every Tuesday night I would roll the lumbering trash and recycle bins down the long driveway of the house and every Wednesday night I would roll the empty rumbling bins back to position for an approaching week of refuse.

The journey was not without it noise and on a course directly past the family room window where dad was logging his "chair" hours immersed in something stimulating like Cash Cab, or old Westerns.

I miss how every time (NOT every now and then), EVERY TIME I would return back to my spot on the adjacent couch he would breathlessly exclaim, "was that you? I thought it was a thunderstorm!".

Thing is, for a split second every week he really did believe that a rogue thunder cloud launched a siege on Danville Blvd in Alamo, until the second personal evaluation yielded the obvious trash night explanation.

I used to roll my eyes, and now I want it back!

Monday, June 29, 2009

A Tat Is Worth 1000 Words

Once in a very blue moon, dad would get us Tullis boys to collaborate on a little yard work bonding.
Keep in mind that this moon I speak of is as blue as a Caribbean Sea Shore, because, you see, we have very tight waistlines to protect in our household and yard work only agitates those well deserved pounds.
On this particular day, he happened to find a loop hole in our couch surfing activities on one of the hotter days of the year.
Shirts were shed with little to no shame (as we were working in the backyard and no real threat to passer-bys).
Joe had just recently gotten his stomach tattooed proudly with the family moniker, but not so recently that we had to stop what we were doing to admire the "Old English Script". We just forged forward raking, chopping, and sweating.
From inside the house the phone rang, and as multi-duty-dad was constantly ready for, dropped his rake and headed in. Joe and I silently plodded the land, heads down and determined to rejoin the lonely remote control upon completion.
After a while, Dad joined us back a the red hot dirt pile and joined us our silent pilgrimage to complete said task at hand.
Many, many moments had passed before any of us decided to stop and wipe the sweat from furrowed brow, and best believe that first person to stop was me.
As I caught a breath and stepped back from our chore, that's when I noticed his handy work.
Within seconds I was rolling on our dusty weed pile unable to compose myself from laughter.
In the short time he had been in the house, supposedly answering the phone, he had located a Bic ballpoint pin and (rather legibly mind you) scribed "TULLIS" across his own protruding belly. This feat would have been admirable enough, but the fact that he just silently returned to our work and waited for one of us to discover his newly acquired belly tat, absolutely sent Joe and I into hysterics.
I didn't even know until that day that ballpoint pins could write through sweat and hair. I have a hard enough time getting mine to write on paper.
He was a divine man!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Idle Hands Were Dads Workshop

My small experiment of getting this blog out to the masses to maximize the input is making some great progress.

This next diddy is thanks to our extended family the Swans, and Amanda in particular. She became the pioneer that has blazed the "toldarounthetable" link on this site and made me smile by sharing that my Dad was alive and well at dinner tables around the greater bay area and perhaps beyond, on this our first fathers day without him.

Thank you Mandy-May his voice never be silent!

While we were at my parents for fathers day today, as always your dads name came up.
I was telling my parents about your blog and my dad wanted to share a story that reminded him of Sam.
This is typed by me but recounted by my dad....

Sam and I belonged to a hunting club in Suisun. We went out to hunt one morning stopping by the clubhouse to check in with the club officials to find out what field we were assigned to for the morning.
An official of the club gave us our field number for the day,and told us no one could go out to their assigned fields until the morning fog had lifted. This was a standard safety procedure that we had dealt with many times before, so no big deal.
Usually the delay was 30-45 min at best. Besides a big screen TV, and vending machine, the clubhouse had a bulletin board where members would post items for sale such as guns, hunting equipment, dogs, and services.
As we stood around waiting for the fog to lift, I noticed Sam standing at the bulletin board reading the different index cards. Nothing was unusual as we all always checked the board, and today it helped pass the time.
But then I noticed Sam take a card down from the board, write something on it and tack it back up. As he walked past me to the coffee machine I asked him what he wrote on the card.
In his normal deadpan response he said ," I didn't write anything. "
My curiosity got the better of me so I went over to the board to check it out.
The original message read - " Help " In large Red letters, followed by- " on Feb 20th I was hunting in field 121 and I lost my hearing aide. If anyone who hunts in that field, and by chance comes across my lost hearing aide. Please call Fred at such and such number- Thank you ".

I then noticed what Sam had written under the thank you in large letters. "And Talk Really Loud"
This story always makes us laugh. Your family is always in our thoughts especially on days like today.