She was running around underneath the loquat tree, searching, searching. She could hear the sound and she knew he was nearby. But where was he? She looked underneath the bushes by the side door; she ran by the bedroom window, but when she scampered across the lawn to the black walnut tree, the whistle would call her back. She had gone too far, and knew to return.
Whistle, whistle. Ever so softly. It was comforting, familiar. Dad could whistle from his mouth without puckering his mouth into an “o.” No one knew how to whistle like him, and certainly the kids at school didn’t because they only knew the “o” way. It was out of the side of his mouth and was not too strong but always the same, sure tone.
Around and around she still couldn’t find him! Under every bush, behind every tree… and finally she heard a voice, “Look up.” And there he was, standing near the uppermost parts of the branches of her beloved loquat tree, looking down lovingly, laughingly, at his seven year old daughter. She sensed a flooding of relief, at last of knowing where he was. And boy was he smart, she thought. She had never thought to look up…
And that’s how I think of you now, Dad. You’re watching over me. You’re smiling and watching me grow and learn and strive…. and when I seem to get off track a little bit, or confused, or even downcast, or get a little too far out near the black walnut tree, I hear your whistle in my mind. I look up. I can see you smiling. “You’re doing O.K.”
Thanks, Dad, for watching over me. You have given me the inspiration to pursue…
I hope I make it to the top of the loquat tree. I bet the views are marvelous up there. It’s a lot easier to see up there, isn’t it? You climbed the tree and you know what it is like. But Dad, I don’t feel as if I have even started climbing yet! I’m still running around on the ground trying to decide which tree to climb. That’s the hardest decision! But I know when I do start climbing it will be very natural for me, I think…. I hope I follow your way. Not your career, but the way you pursued your career, and life. I do hope I see your view someday. But really, I know too to enjoy swinging upside down on that extended branch, eating up my loquats with abandon, realizing the climb, is, the joy. I know it’s beautiful up there. It’s also beautiful to swing….
addition 4-29-94, Manhattan Beach, LA