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You Light Up My Life

You Light Up My Life

Oil on board, 24x24, Oak floater frame



I asked the hard question and your answer was:


“When I’m not here, I’ll visit you as a purple finch”.


My dad was my anchor.


We had a bond.  Strong and secure.


I can still picture us, me no older than 5, in his car on Saturday mornings headed to the car wash in Ardmore, next to the IHOP (and Kiddie City -gosh I always wished we would stop in just to “look around.”)


I would slide up real close to him, because I was afraid of the giant carpet monster that would lay on top of the car. He’d put his arm around me. And I knew he had me.


He took me on lots of errands. And I’d slide back and forth on that slippery front seat. Yes, no seat belts in the 70’s, just bouncing and sliding around!


The radio was usually tuned to KYW news or the popular music channel.


When a song came on that he loved, he’d crank it up and sing.


“You light up my life, you give me hope to carry on, you light up my day”.


I can still feel his giant, strong hand on my knee. He’d squeeze it, just firm enough to make me jump. It was code for, “I see you.”


Gosh, he loved this song that was on for decades.  On the many radio stations and in all the different cars he drove.  I would sit as a tween and think, “not THIS song again!"


It didn’t matter, he would still sing it and giggle at my reaction. And he would still put his hand on my knee and give me “the squeeze”.


Years later, as I drove him, we’d listen to the radio, and he’d still sing.  He’d still squeeze my knee.


I miss that squeeze.


I painted this piece shortly after he passed.  I think I needed to “see” the purple finch.


A few months later, a purple finch appeared outside my window, sitting on the front porch swing. I was shocked.  I’ve never seen one in Pennsylvania, just in Maine.


It built a nest behind our front shutter.


The cycle of life.


A sign of new beginnings.


Dad, thanks for answering my question.



Music reference: You Light Up My Life, Debby Boone

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