When my family lived in Virginia Beach, my parents spent time with a group of adults and their subsequent children who loved to party. It felt like so much of our Virginia time was spent at soccer games or parties. My father had a short party-time span. For 3-4 hours he would be the belle of the ball, making jokes, being active, flitting around the space with his bottled beer and great attitude, aiding along the general festive atmosphere.
But as dusk started to set during the wet summer evenings, my father would lose interest in clever small talk and bacon-wrapped figs. Then the previously engaged would become brooding, and usually take to a small patch of lawn somewhere slightly distant from the party.
With this removal came the jangling of his keys, a sound in which my sister and I remained spectacularly in-tuned too, even though we rarely bring our father to the thuper cool house parties we now attend. Then, about 20 minutes later, he would blow a small whistle he had attached to his jangly keys.
I don't know if my father foreshadowed this use for his whistle. For its berth, it emitted an impressive sound. Like a train.
My sister and I would whip our eight and six year old heads to the lawn. Then back to where our mother was sipping a decently full drink with a tall blond lady.
My mother's head whipped to the lawn
The rest of the eight and six year olds' heads whipped the lawn.
Even the dog's head whipped to the lawn.
We were far from the Von Trapp family and the whistle did little to assemble us into neat, obedient lines. More so it made my mother grumble, my sister and I giggle, all of us a little embarrassed. But at the end of the train noises, when we four Lucygas made our way to the car parked in a neighborhood, the whistle made me feel like I belonged to something important.
The rest of the party watched us depart, probably amused at my mother's disgruntled look, the way my father swung his arms triumphantly as we walked. Perhaps they laughed, but it felt like the point, the traveling comedy troupe Lucyga.
And as eight year old me bucked my seat belt in the Mazda, I grasped my sister's little hand tightly, in on the joke, and happy to go home.
So thanks Dad, for being a whistle blower and a great father.
Happy Father's Day.