The Florida heat was upon us, so we walked faster to make it to the house of our host for the weekend. I had heard so much about him, and had some vague memories of having met him, back in the day, but my father had many friends, so I was not sure if I would recognize him. My wife and I had been told to not knock on the door, but to just walk in, so we did.
I arranged a meeting with him when I knew we would be visiting the town he now lived in, far away from where he met my parents, long before. “Go visit old Jack.” My father had told me, and I felt I had to do it, for him. I called Jack, told him who my father was, and he talked to me as if we were great friends, “you must stay at my home” he said, “It would be like having your father over,” he added.
The second reason why I wanted to visit him was because I could not remember him well, but according to my father I had spent many days playing at his old house. My father said I used to go around saying his house was my favorite, and not remembering, or not remembering him, was a little embarrassing. I was curious to meet this man, who apparently I had had some appreciation for when I was a kid.
So, my wife and I went to see him, fighting the Florida heat, and walked into his house without knocking, as we had been told. Then, it hit me. The house, which I had never seen before, was a perfect replica of a beautiful house that had been wandering in my memory for a long time, and I never knew why. The plantation shutters, the campaign chest, the side table, and even the bottles and glasses in the room brought back memories I thought I had lost.
There was something alluring about the style, perhaps the combination of formal and relaxed, or maybe the idea of traveling. There was something in it about the old days, but also something that said the story is not over, but is only being written.
For years I had modeled my own style to this image, and now I was finally back to the home I had had in my memory. We heard steps upstairs, someone getting ready to come down to welcome us, but I didn’t need to see him to know who was coming down. It was my father’s friend, the friend I always wished to have, the friend I had always had.