I’ve been reading Richard Quinney’s book this week. I purchased it at the Zandbroz Variety Store in Fargo on Friday when I was there with Gracie. This is my favorite store in which I can get to within a couple of hours – it has everything I love; books – new and vintage, dishes, paper/stationary, fountain pens, a few antiques, dish towels, candles and lotions, chocolate – just everything I might love to surround myself with. Gracie agreed to visit the store with me, to her dread, I’m sure, knowing she would later have to lure me out.
She needed to use the bathroom, so I was her guide to the back room where the vintage books were shelved, and the bathroom was hidden. While I waited for her, two books by Richard Quinney were waving at me for attention. So, I pulled them off of the shelves and read a few entries. I adored the simplicity of his writing and savored the texture of the cover and pages – a heavy book cloth and yellowed-worn pages. They were priced right, so I carried them around with me as I continued to hummingbird my way through the store.
I had not done a typical book preview that is more thorough before purchasing, so it was a surprise once I began reading.
You are sprinkling sweet whispers to me throughout the pages of Quinney’s book, aren’t you. So sneaky, you are. I just keep shaking my head.
For one, it turns out, Mr. Richard Quinney is Irish. His Great Grandparents immigrated from Ireland. On page 20, he stops at Sullivan’s for a beer – Killian’s Red, of course.
He gets on a roll talking about his photography on page 26-27, but then comes to an abrupt end and writes, “Enough talk about photography.” You used to say talk in this way when you wanted to switch the conversation to the kids or to us.
On page 42, you give me a passage from Thich Nhat Hann, of which I shared in yesterday’s post. Words that remind me – you are okay and we’ll see you again soon. I’ll share it again here:
Today, Quinney wrote about his Irish friend, Desmond Egan, a poet from Ireland.
Well, I felt nudged to look him up on the internet, using my phone.
A series of videos popped up of him reading poems, sitting at a desk with books behind him, as if in a library. I decided to listen to just one. But, could not decide which one to pick. I randomly clicked on one of which only a portion of the title was shown,
“Song for My. . .”
What would it be? His cat? Dog? Purple car? I was in suspence.
Once it opened up, the complete title was visible.
“Song for My Father”
Of course. This would be the one you had me choose.
I was immediately brought to moments a couple of weeks after you left us, when I walked around in a zombie like haze. The world had shifted on it’s axis and I wasn’t clear where and who I was. Like Desmond, it befuddled me how the flowers and the trees and the fields and the cattle all looked unfazed, undeterred, unbothered by your absence. People were shopping in the grocery like nothing had happened.
Desmond’s words gave me solace today – in granting me a knowing that grief is something we all share.
And yet, when our fathers leave us, we must keep singing our song.
For our Fathers.