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Entry date: 7-7-22 - The Trees part 4 - Things I made up

Dear Friends,

7-7-22. I like the feel of that. What will today be like? I can only wonder. Here is the fourth part of the “The Trees” story for you.


Sleep did not come easy for Dan that night. He was restless. When he did eventually talk to Cole later that evening, the two of them spent more time sitting in silence than actually speaking. Dan assured Cole that he was going to fight and get as much out of life as he could. He also let Cole know that his reaction earlier had not hurt his feelings at all.

Cole was the most like Dan in a lot of ways. He was business-like and direct when he was uncomfortable, but also had a way of seeing things that showed real empathy for others. He just wasn’t always sure how to share it and, like his dad, he often kept things to himself.

When Cole apologized for walking out of the room earlier, Dan told him he understood. He shared with Cole that he had felt the same way when he was younger and found out his grandfather, Ron, had died.

Ronald Everett Lewis, aka Grandpa Ron, was 61 years old when he died in 1972. Dan was eight years old at the time his father, Rob, had told him and refused to believe that his grandfather was dead. He had run from the room, looking for his grandmother, Laura, who was known only as “Gramma” to Dan. Gramma would tell him it wasn’t true, and everything would be okay.

Cole listened intently. There were so many things about his dad’s life he didn’t know. Cole had often wondered why Dan rarely talked about Grandpa Ron because his picture was on his desk at the office. When Cole would ask about him, Dan would just say something like, “He was a great guy” or “He would have loved you.”

Cole could see the pain on his dad’s face as he talked about his grandfather. He had been close to Grandpa Rob before he had died a few years earlier, but he had started to get sick well after Cole was the age Dan was and Cole had a stronger understanding of the situation. He also had J.R. there to explain what was going on, too, but Grandpa Rob had talked about Great Grampa Ron even less.

Even a glimpse into what his dad was thinking, or feeling, for that matter, was always like a gift for Cole. It’s not that Dan wasn’t there for him or present in his life. Quite the contrary as Dan was a great father in many aspects, but he wasn’t always the best at sharing the quieter parts of himself.

This seemed different, but as Cole and Dan did their dance of talking and sitting quietly together, it was becoming clear to Dan it was helping Cole to put things in perspective. He loved watching Cole’s brain work. You could almost see the different thoughts crossing his mind as the expression changed on his face. Dan hoped Cole knew how much he loved him.

Words couldn’t express it, Dan thought. The words never seemed to come out right, but he couldn’t help but be encouraged by the measured countenance on his son’s face.

Cole looked more like his mother than he did Dan, but they had the same chin. This was a topic of conversation, a lot because Dan had a good chin. It was strong and it fit nicely with the features he got from Jan’s side of the DNA tree.

Like many high school seniors, Cole was rapidly shedding the look of a boy and was turning into a young man before his parents’ eyes. Like his physical presence, Cole’s room had also transformed a lot of the last couple of years. If they had needed to have this conversation a few years before, Dan would have been hard pressed to find a place to sit, but not anymore.

Cole kept his room neat and tidy now. Dan had pulled the chair from Cole’s desk and had plenty of room to turn it around to face Cole’s bed when he came in to talk. Two years prior, he would have been kicking clothes and shoes and video game debris to either side to make even the shortest path.

Dan got lost in this thought. He wondered what Cole’s room would look after he was gone. What would his first apartment look like? Where would it be? Who would he marry? Would it be Jill?

Cole’s girlfriend, Jill, was often a fixture at the Lewis home. Jan and Dan made it a point to make sure all their kid’s friends were welcome and felt comfortable when they visited. Jan’s parents, Dottie and Bill Wallace, had started this trend and Jan was hell bent on keeping it going. It was “subtle parent trick #2” in Jan’s vernacular which meant, if the kids like being at home, they will be safe and we will know what is going on.

Dan wasn’t sure what was going on in Cole’s mind, but he knew when Cole figured out what he needed, he would let him know. Dan thought Cole needed some time to think and work through it. The two of them had a strong and evolving bond and even more importantly, there was a mutual respect, too.

For the past year, Cole had been working Evolve Solutions after school and during the summer. Cole got to see a side of his father that the rest of the family was not privy to except at the company picnic or when they would visit the building. As part of the cleaning crew, Cole liked that he got to observe what was going on without anyone really noticing him.

Joining the cleaning crew had been Cole’s idea. He didn’t want any special favors, being the son of a partner, but he wanted to learn the business, and more importantly, he wanted to be part of it. Cole also liked Ferdie Ruiz a lot. Ferdie oversaw building maintenance and was Cole’s boss. He was also someone Dan respected entirely.

Both Cole and Dan were not sure what they would say at work the following day, but there was every chance that Tuesday, November 8, 2016, would be an interesting day.

See you tomorrow.

Totally unrelated. This is a picture I took on July 3.

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