They say time heals all wounds, I sometimes wonder if I have enough time remaining in my life to heal. It has been twenty five years, and the scars upon my heart remain and yet the memories and lessons still provide strength and guidance.
My father was not a man of elegant words; his lessons were passed on by example and action. A man working day and night holding two jobs for thirty-five years without missing time passes on a work ethic. There is no doubt he was a provider for his family but it was his acts of kindness and love that have proven to be his lasting legacy.
Today I enjoy the toil of clamming and the results of my harvest, an endeavor passed on by a man that never ate the fruits of his labor. No, my dad would dig and clean the clams for family and friends out of love and kindness, receiving only smiles of joy from those that ate the fruit of his labor.
The first year he was gone was filled with memories and tears, the wounds of such sudden sorrow were deep. Trying to move forward would bring back memories and moments of sadness over his passing. The first time clamming alone was one I can never forget, but the story is true and the memory is clear.
It was a warm and sunny day like many others on Cape Cod Bay, an ideal day with a tide that would accommodate an early afternoon of clamming. I ventured out over the tidal flats, a walk I had taken with my dad and always taken for granted. He would always lead the way knowing exactly where to go. Over the years the clam beds were getting smaller, but dad knew just the spot to go in the uncharted expanse before us.
Now alone I ventured out, rake in one hand and bucket in the other. Yes I thought I could do what dad had done; he made it look so easy. I dug, and I struggled, the tide was turning and little did I have to show for my efforts. My emotions were raw, as I thought back to the times I had shared in these waters with the man that never ate the clams.
Alone in thought, I believed if he were there we would have had our limit and been walking home by now, but I only had three clams. The tide was changing but not my luck. I saw a seal not too far away, I paused to observe and thought how much my dad liked to watch the wild life that Mother Nature so kindly brought his way.
It was then I noticed the seal seem to be nodding his head to my right, I moved in that direction and he continued to nod and I continued to move. It wasn’t that far until he stopped and suddenly began to move his head up and down as if to say, yes. I paused, and without hesitation I began to rake for clams, for the tide was turning and the time was coming when I would have to stop my quest.
There with the first stroke of the rake was a clam, as I reached for my bucket I looked toward the seal but he was gone. I continued to rake and in a short time I had what I had come to seek, a bucket full of clams. It was time to go and leave the bay but the memory of that day will never leave.
It has been twenty-five years since dad was killed by a hit and run driver, not a day goes by that I don’t think about the man. The wounds of that day are deep, the scars of time remain and I wonder if I will live long enough for time to heal the wounds of loss. On this day, I can only write these words in his memory, happy Father’s Day, dad.