His milky blue eyes rimmed with the gaily sheen of Ketel One cocktails each night at the regularly scheduled hour.
“One-two-three-four-five…what comes after five?…Cocktails” He’d say with an Irish grin.
Some nights she awoke to see her father dancing on the ten-dollar garage sale -cherry wood coffee table in his weathered beach shack
He would put one of the mix CDs that she’d make them each summer. Pumping his arms in the air the way that men who came of age in the 70’s and 80’s tend to do, he’d sing,
“This is your song, kid. Love you” He’d point and wink in his east coast way.
One birthday there sat a gigantic carrot cake covered in white cream frosting. They all laughed around the table, each holding a silver fork. No plates, just took turns digging utensils into the gluttonous centerpiece while giggling.
The edges between Parent and Child blurred every June for her, much like the subtle but definitive way her tan-lines would fade every September.
One July fourth ,during a classic New England hurricane, her father’s twinkling eyes caught hers from across the buzzing crowd that had moved indoors to dry safety.
“Let’s go swimmin’, kid”.
They body surfed the moody blue waves until dusk, racing across the seaweed and driftwood debris-strewn sand to the safety of the porch. Soaking wet, shivering , laughing, she bit into a cold hamburger that had been saved from the party platter spread and heaped a spoonful of her auntie Nor’s potato salad onto a paper plate.
The familiar shouts and laughs of the neighborhood were as familiar and comforting as the hot shower and simple Dove bar soap that ended each summer day of her childhood.