I don't remember very much from when I was a kid.
A few little images here and there, more like sound bytes than memories. But I can remember feeding apples to a horse with my dad so clearly that the images wash over me and eclipse the present, and I'm six or so again, and sitting in the back seat of the car, driving to my grandparents house in Delaware.
We're taking this back road, and we keep flitting in and out of the shadows of big, lazy trees.
The road vaguely follows a small river, and occasionally on one side or the other a meadow opens up along its banks, and in one of these meadows there are three horses. Big brown animals with long faces and swishy tails, standing near the road and grazing on bright green grass.
My dad pulls us over and we hop out and walk up to the barbed wire fence. The sun shines in my face, and the pleasant white noise of a place with water- swishing trees, occasional cicadas- sort of hums behind my ears.
My dad pulls out a few apples from his pockets (I don't know how they got there), and he reaches over the fence and holds one out to the horses. He gives me one, too, after they meander over, and I'm not tall enough to reach over the fence, so I put my hand through the wires and hold up the apple.
One of the horses swings its head toward me, and he is so big!! And he snuffles at me a little, and sniffs the apple, and the peels back his lips and bites in.
This warm mix of juices from the apple and the horse's mouth drips down onto my palm, and I feel the slipperiness of his lips, and even the outsides of his teeth pressing into my skin. I keep holding my hand up through the fence, even after the apple is gone and the horse trots away, until my dad tells me it is time to go.
Now, my grandparents are all dead, and they've all been dead since I was 11.
Sometimes I wonder what I'll think about my dad when he is dead, too, and I don't really know.
But I'm pretty sure its going to be mostly these images I have:
Him mowing the lawn in the summer and the buzzing sound of the lawn mower, or me opening my wallet when I'm sixteen and finding some money in there that wasn't there before, him appearing at the top of the stands during a swim meet just as I'm about to race and then leaving right after I finish fifth...
him taking me over to feed apples to horses.
Carl L. Leneis of Wynnewood, PA, died over a year ago in February 2010. He was 63. Brad is his second son- now 30 years old this year.
Carl was the very definition of a "good man", and is sorely missed.
Here's to a very happy and thoughtful Father's Day to the Leneis Family.
With wishes of love-