His father died and left him a little farm in New England.
All the long black funeral cars left the scene
And the boy was just standing there alone
Looking at the shiny red tractor
Him and his daddy used to sit inside
And circle the blue fields and grease the night.
It was if someone had spread butter on all the fine points of the stars
‘Cause when he looked up they started to slip.
Then he put his head in the crux of his arm
-Patti Smith, Birdland
I have always found that song to be both terrible and beautiful, so much so that I cannot listen to it while driving or while out in public because I know that tears will flow as my heart breaks just a little. Usually it makes me think of my own sons, but today I am the son.
As I posted earlier in the week, I made a trip to visit my father in Ohio because he was in the hospital. In that post I also stated that I would probably be flying back soon. On Monday he moved into hospice care to escape the constant poking and prodding that goes on in ICU. The move gave him the peace he sought. Last night he went to sleep, his breathing gradually slowed, then he left.
Wherever you are, Dad, I hope that the beer is always cold, the conversation lively, the jukebox is loaded with Hank Williams and your beloved Cleveland Browns always win…even against my Lions.
Here is a video version of Birdland.