83 he would be on the 19th of February
They sat in the kitchen of the fishing cabin smoking and playing cards. I could hear the happy commotion from the tiny bedroom as the light slipped under the door and onto the wood planked floor. I wanted to be included, to be older, to stay up late. The wish of so many kids throughout the years. I got up and peeked through the skeleton keyhole. Smoky denim and the back of a flannel shirt. A yellow linoleum tabletop with large hands perched on them, at once slapping the table with joy.
"Full house, Jack! Beat that!", he barrels out as the roar from the table emerges.
"Ha, ya sonofabitch! Ya got me..."
I creak open the door slightly as the laughter slowly subsides and the "pfffffffftttttttt" of the cards shuffle.
"Dad," I say timidly, "I have to pee."
I didn't but this was my plan to get in on the action. Who could sleep through this anyhow?
A quick 'go ahead' from Dad's nod and I sweep through the kitchen like a mouse with a broom following it.
From the crusty bathroom I hear, "Hey, let the kid stay up a bit, Jack. Why don't ya?"
"No. Too young. Maybe next year..."
"Ah, you're no fun!", the guy ribs away.
"Next year, next year..."
I scurry back, averting the eyes of all but dad who winks.
There never was a "next year".
Happy birthday, Dad. You are missed.