In October each year, I always see signs of my father. He was born on October 25th and would have been 95 years old this year. He’s been gone for 16 years now.
A few days ago, I was doing laundry and somewhat paying attention to the Property Brothers on HGTV in the background. I walked back into the bathroom to return the laundry basket when I caught an Oreo commercial playing. In it, a father asks his young daughter if she sees any stars “out there.” They live in the city so stars would be a little hard to see – she says, “not yet.” The dad suddenly tells her to grab her jacket and they take off to find the perfect place to view the stars. They end up in the back of their truck in the middle of a field gazing up at the stars with a package of Oreos.
As I was watching the commercial, I had a tremendously strong flashback. My family was living in Puerto Rico at the time and I was getting interested in astronomy. I had a booklet, probably from school, that showed all the constellations and I would mull over it to get familiar with them. I would walk outside sometimes and look up at the stars and was eventually able to identify the big and little dipper. The others were a little harder…
One night, my dad surprised me and out of the blue told me we were going to look at the constellations together. I was so excited! He grabbed a flashlight and I grabbed my constellation book. But instead of going outside into our front yard, he said we were going to our roof! We climbed up the wrought iron gate next to our car port and onto the flat roof of our concrete house! Now as an 8 or 9-year-old, I had climbed on the roof before – without permission from my parents, of course – so this was exciting to me! We were on the roof!!! I felt so grown up!!!
Our bathrooms had skylights so we were even more elevated as we laid down on the cool concrete to look at the night sky and dad turned the flashlight to the constellation book. Then we slowly started identifying the constellations together… (minus the Oreos!) Dad would point to one in the book and I would start searching. Dad would give me clues to finding a certain constellation and I remember him using both the big and little dipper as the home base to do our searches. I don’t know how long we stayed on the roof that night but I do remember loving the fact that it was just me and my dad and this was something that we were doing together. It was something very special.
I hadn’t thought about this particular memory for a long time. But there was a split second in that Oreo commercial that focused on a constellation book showing Ursa Major/The Big Dipper that had all these memories flooding back to me. It’s funny how you can have memories for so many years and yet the actual feelings remain dormant until something triggers them. Cue the Oreo commercial…and I’m convinced my dad had something to do with this. He always does at this time of year.