Blue and Rose Make My Purple Period


EJP
EJP

When a kid who is too short to sit in the front seat sits in the front seat, something smart happens.

It’s a transformation. She gains intelligence, introspection, and social awareness. In the backseat, it’s about coloring books and snacks. In the front seat, it’s about fine art and social issues.

It happened when I let Grace sit in the front so we could fit her bike in the backseat.

“Why does it have to be gay marriage?” she asked after she rode alongside me to wrap up week 1 of Couch to 5K. “Can’t it just be marriage?” (to paraphrase singer P!nk, and echo sentiments she heard from her big sis.)

 

We’d spent all morning fishing, then went for a run/ride in the park.

Then she asked, “who was Picasso’s friend who died? That’s when he started his blue period.”

EJP
The view of the pond – that once proved bountiful, but on this day … struck Grace and me out.

That would be Carlos Casagemas. Picasso’s blue/green paintings, were melancholy and monochromatic. They marked a period of depression and withdrawal after Casagemas’ death.

Picasso’s Rose Period followed, a time of cheerful oranges and pink. Harlequins replaced beggars in Picasso’s work. Picasso’s sun rose again.

Is it like that for us?

Can I look back on a decade or year or week and see it as blue or rose?

In a blue period, would I quit my blog?

Looking back … I see purple. Between blue and rose.

purple2

A crappy day starts with a shitty morning. Lots of traffic. You leave your work badge on the kitchen table, or toss your lunch in the garbage by accident. You spilled your Coke Zero all over your right pant leg in the car, and you smell funny the rest of the day. But don’t notice until you’re in a meeting.

Your day is blue. Right?

You might post it on Facebook, and get the love and support and likes from family and friends. Maybe you’ll get a bible verse of a cat meme. Hang in there!

My blues haven’t been true blue. Many roses haven’t been vibrant. Again, purple. My dad died in the middle of August, when the NFL preseason wound down. Marie was born not even three months earlier, on a sunny November morning.

Was she a rose spot in a blue period, or was his death a blue spot in a rose?

To claim either way would be an injustice. To them both.

Fueled by Powerade and cheap diet soda - and perhaps store-brand cookies in a conspicuous brown sack.
Fueled by Powerade and cheap diet soda – and perhaps store-brand cookies in a conspicuous brown sack.

What if I quit this blog? I don’t say this to fish for “no, don’t quit! We love you!” comments. Not at all. I just discovered a blog recently in which the writer said goodbye. Not because life was blue. But because it was rose. Kind of.

It was a travel blog, and she was  grounded at the moment. Happily.

I found it a few months too late.

The blog world will go on. Her space on your Feedly? It’ll go to someone new. I find new blogs every day, new writers to reach out to for 6 words contributions. I also have those who knew me when I first started. What color was that period?

The numbers were down, but I had fun.

The numbers are up now, but sometimes down. Some days, I get an email. I’m a good balance in the inbox when dads go bad. Some days, I get silence. Most days, there’s something. These words are for the kids, for someday.

purple4And your words? In comments? They’re part of the story, too.

An important part.

It’s impossible to find blue and rose periods at Coach Daddy. Because every day might have a little of both. I will call it my Purple Period. It could go from deep Chicago Maroon to periwinkle. Who am I to know? I’m a dude. Dudes paint with eight colors. One is purple, though. Maroon or periwinkle. It’s still purple.

# # #

Isn’t fly fishing dangerous?

“What do worms eat?”

“Why do so many Chinese restaurants have the word ‘China’ in the name?”

These questions and more poured out as we fished on a  gorgeous Saturday morning. I looked back on it, after Grace put the idea of color periods in my head. Which was this? Seemed rosy. But, we didn’t catch a thing. We lost a hook.

Don’t tell mom, but … we got a line stuck in a powerline. And we had to make do when we lost our weights.

We were here because of a spirited hallelujah, and a bet I made on Easter.

purple5
When we lost our weights, Grace found a handful of bolts, nuts and washers. So we improvised.

“When church ends,” I told Grace, “I dare you to say “Hah-ley-LOO-yah!” as loud as you can.” She used to do this in our old church. The pastor would scowl.

Easter Sunday, she balked. No outburst.

On Quasimodo Sunday, one week later, it happened. Grace got applause. And she told me, “now you have to take me fishing! And if you don’t … ” She ran her thumb across her throat. True.story.

That fishing morning, the fish nibbled, but didn’t take the bait. But we heard woodpeckers. We saw geese in a domestic dispute. “I wonder what he did wrong,” Grace wondered aloud, assuming the boy goose was in hot water. We found fish nests. We didn’t hear sirens or rap music.

Those clever sunfish nipped at our worms under water.

When we switched to flies, the worms in our bucket found an 11th-hour reprieve.

We had Powerade and Zero Cola and a bag that might or might not have contained sugar wafers in chocolate, strawberry and vanilla. We had a breeze and sun on our faces. We had nowhere to be but there. Without bites.

But without hooks stuck in fingers. Just in jeans.

Years ago, I found myself on a lakeshore like this. Brokenhearted. Some silly girl I adored had decided to do something fun on a Saturday with a boy who wasn’t me. I cast a line and felt distant. Helpless.

A cup of worms and a far-off lake seemed a weak retort to his kind of fun.

So I sat.

The only thing we really hooked ... was Grace's pants.
The only thing we really hooked … was Grace’s pants.

And I waited. And I listened. That burn began to fade. I couldn’t call her. Damn. I couldn’t call her. Good. He’ll muck it up anyway. I don’t know how many casts it took, but, that spot at the lake became the place to be. When you fish, the only counting you do is … fish.

Rose swept into the blue that day. Or did blue interrupt my rose?

“Is a girl goose green, or is that in ducks?”

“So, people eat whales?”

“If you run a red light, will you go to jail?”

The day became a golden age of questions.

I took a turn at a local park for the last day of my first week of Couch to 5K. Guess who wanted to come with? And bring her bike. This is how she wound up in the front seat, to speak of gay marriage and Picasso’s periods.

She’d speed ahead, then loop around the figure 8, to find me. In week 1, you warm up with a 5-minute walk. You run just 60 seconds. You walk for 90. Repeat, until you’ve finished 20 minutes. Ease into it, lad, as my friend Will would say. I am.

And in some 60-second bursts, I feel broken down and creaky.

On others?

Like Jesse Owens.

With no tackle box, my trusty Rockies cap doubled as a hook spot.
With no tackle box, my trusty Rockies cap doubled as a hook spot.

Grace kept pace as I walked, then kicked it up on my blistering 12-minute-mile pace. “We should do this every day,” she said. Yes. Well, three times a week. Oh, you mean, run and bike at the park? I’d love that.

To blog three times a week is good. It fits right now. Whatever period this is.

It’s hard to see the blue or the rose. There’s a Crayola color now called Purple Mountains Majesty. Purple People Eaters didn’t make the cut. We’ve invented shades of purple.

My Colorado Rockies are black, purple and silver. My mom’s maiden name, Morado, means … purple.

It’s everywhere. And I think it keeps me in the middle.

It keeps me from arrogance on a good day. It keeps me from despair when things don’t make sense. We need blues, though. We need days we catch no fish. We might not need mysteries we don’t understand, but we can thrive anyway.

Later that day, it took a little improvisation to make the tortillas just right.
Later that day, it again took a little improvisation – and a bit of a mess – to make the tortillas just right.

We need Pandora to play a song that makes you want and check the lyrics.

So you can nod your head. Like it’s written for you.

I think, though, it’s best not to look at those lyrics.

Maybe it’s best to just hear the song, feel it, nod while you’re listening. Then wait. See what’s spun next. John Mayer might lead to Red Hot Chili Peppers. Or Avicii.

And there will always be the questions.

“What does USO mean?”

“What are those colorful fish Piscine Patel apologized to before he killed it?”

“What’s the last stage of a tadpole, before it’s a frog?”

EJP
EJP

The questions don’t stop. And they’re rose. Every one. Even the sad ones. Even when the baby asks, “would you die for me, daddy?

And that’s why my blog will go on. My travels aren’t over.

They’ll take on shades of mulberry to KSU Purple to Mardi Gras. They’ll bounce close to the blue and on the edge of rose, but they’ll go on. So I’m here. As the clock approaches midnight and my bed calls. And so does the blog. It feels … rose.

The doing it does.

The thought of you reading this does, for sure.

The thought of the girls seeing it someday does, too.

This is what happens. When you sit in the front seat.

picasso

 

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52 Replies to “Blue and Rose Make My Purple Period”

  1. Hmmm. I don’t have children, but I remember being one, and sitting in the front seat, and asking my dad questions.

    Purple in all its spectrum is a regal color.

    Love this post and I’m sure your daughters will too.

    1. Good memories, then? I hope she’ll think so when she’s grown up. I did learn so much about purple, and its regal lines.

      Thanks so much for the kind words!

  2. Eli, I think you said it best why we continue to blog here and I know we have talked about having these thoughts, but you are right I, too can’t quit, because I have so much more life in me to share, too 😉

  3. You’ll always find me in your inbox.
    In all kinds of weird shades of color too!
    I’ve never had the feelings of if I should continue to blog because I can’t imagine not doing it, but every so often I have a feeling of shakings things up or changing it.
    And then I do and it’s rosy for awhile.

    1. I like that, a ton, T-Bow.

      For a dude who claims to use just an eight-crayon box, I sure do know a lot about periwinkle and burnt sienna.

      I change my background color with every post. I think that’s sufficient for shaking it up. Once, I even wrote less than 800 words. Woah.

      Rosy’s good. So’s the purple, I’ve found.

  4. I think that you have one of the best daddy/daughter relationships of anyone I know!! I love that the girls are so open in talking to you and you with them.
    Your blog will definitely be a treasure for them as they get older – Rose all the way!!!

    1. Thanks Kim – it’s hugely important to me. I feel like establishing this age 5 could help at age 15 or 25. At least, at the very least, I want them to see that you can laugh about life and keep things light, no matter how blue.

  5. Trivial Pursuit Junior Edition has got purple questions. They’re the tough ones about paintings, poems, literature. I’m sure the one about Picasso’s buddy will show up if you play long enough. Or let Grace sit in the front seat. What an inspiring young lady!

    You make your own tortilla dough? How impressive! Happy cinco de Mayo!

    Glad your travels aren’t over, and we get to read more from you!

    1. Awesome. Purple should be challenging. I wouldn’t have even known about Picasso’s periods had Grace not asked. Thanks Art Teacher.

      She sat there only because of the bike. And I was nervous for all 3 miles of the trip.

      It’s so easy to make the masa, which is what we call tortilla dough. But I like to maintain the illusion it’s an endeavor.

      It’s a long and winding road, and I’m nowhere near finished, TG.

  6. In music, we talk about artists’ periods too, but I never thought to equate that to my own life, or my own journeys and adventures. What a creative thing to do. And a neat “lens” to use.

    My favorite part of this post is your front seat analogy. It brings back so many memories of talks like that with my dad. We called it “solving the world’s problems,” and would chuckle at our idealism. Those are the rosiest times though, don’t you think?

    1. We definitely have periods – just looking back at posts, I can get a sense for what is going on in my life. But it has to come out, you know?

      Glad you saw the front-seat analogy. I know there are a lot of other parts, but that’s what started it all. For dads and daughters, that’s where so many of the meaningful conversations happen, because you’re side-by-side, non-confrontational, open, yet protected.

      I will take any blue life can throw my way, if I have those rosiest moments, as you said. Thanks Lauren!

  7. I think from this moment on I will always be looking for the color of my life.

    Special, special time with your daughter… hang on to it!!

    ~Cheryl

  8. Eli, if it’s even possible to outdo oneself, you have done it. Your posts just get better. I enjoyed every word, every picture and every sentimental feeling this evoked. Oh yes, purple is and has always been my favorite color. Thank you for adding such lovely perspective. 😉

    1. My girls used to tell me there were boy and girl colors … and they’d snicker if I wore one outside my gender. Now that they’re older … I hope they can see things this way, too.

      1. I was always told red was a boy’s color when I was growing up, but I had a brother and all my cousins were boys, so I wore red anyway. 🙂 It looks good on me, haha.

    1. Same to you Michelle! Keep it green. Or mostly … blue green and green yellow are also acceptable.

      Thanks about BlogHer! Totally in shock. I wonder if they know I’m a dude…

  9. I remember sitting in the front seat too, definitely good memories. And I remember when each of my children hit front seat age and took the plunge (except for the little who is still strapped in a car seat, much to his 6-yr. old chagrin). 😉 I love that you took her fishing. And hallelujah for good questions (and kiddos who love to spend time w/their parents). 😉

    1. She isn’t really old enough, but I let her for a short trip to the park with her bike in the back. It’s a big deal when you come sit up front with papa.

      She’s ready to move on up!

      Grace loves to go fishing, and a promise is a promise, right? Plus, I didn’t want to dismiss her threat of violence against me.

      She really graces me with her presence.

  10. Very introspective and sweet post, Eli. Sometimes those endless questions from my youngest drive me insane, and sometimes they are the sweetest things I’ve ever heard. You are a good papa. (how did the tortillas turn out?)

    I remember periods of my life with sound. I only say this because I discussed it recently with someone. Emotions (good or bad) for some reason have a tone to them in my brain. I also have terrible color memory….related, or not? I don’t know. I can be looking right at something and an hour later remember it as the wrong color. 99%. It’s really weird. ANYway, that last part has nothing to do with your post. Just thinking how people categorize things in their minds. Yours is in terms of colors. Mine is sounds. The human mind is a strange one, eh?

    1. Thanks Beth. If it wasn’t for that deluge of questions – I’d have nothing to say on Fridays. I don’t know if I’m a good papa, but I sure do love the title.

      (The tortillas were magnificent, by the way. I’m in a constant struggle to make them like mi abuelita does. That’s a tall order (of tortillas) to fill.)

      That last part has everything to do with my post. The way we remember things. What does it say about you that you remember with sound? Because I could probably remember colors, and forget all about the sound.

      The brain is like this wrinkled up miracle, like a computer, only better.

  11. I’m a little late doing the rounds this week Mate and it was worth the wait. What a great post, I teared up when it came up , ‘would you die for me daddy?’ The colours of emotion are well represented here and I think feeling purple is a good simile. My days go from blue to rose quite often but I strive for purple at least. I think you’re leaving a great legacy here for your girls. Oh, fishing. Yes quite often sitting there without catching anything can be so relaxing.
    Cheers
    Laurie.

    1. You’re always worth the wait, mate. Thanks for the sentiments. Purple feels good – it has a little of the highs and a little of the lows.

      Blue to rose isn’t a bad way to go either, amigo. I hope the girls will love what I’ve left them here, and maybe even keep it going after I’m gone.

      Fishing’s the game you can get shut out in, and still win.

      1. A nice compliment Eli. I think your girls will all do you proud and respect your memory. I don’t fish often but the results are always beneficial.

  12. so incredible.
    I’m not gonna muck it up with feeble words.
    at least not my own, I like Walt Whitmans’s in “O Me! O Life!” :

    That you are here—that life exists, and identity;
    That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.

    you contribute great verses my friend.

    1. Glad you liked it, Rore. I don’t believe your words would muck up anything around here. But now I can say Walt Whitman once visited the blog.

      I wish I could write something funny soon. It’ll come to me, I know it.

  13. Today is Mother’s Day. It is a little after 5 am and I have been up for an hour. I have too much on my mind to sleep in like I think I’m supposed to. This is the post I pull out of my email as I try to catch up. Perfect. For me. Where I am and how I feel and what I’m thinking. There’s still the incomparable Eli wit in here, but mostly true beauty. You, my friend, are the man. I hope your girls read this comment someday and know exactly how blessed they are!

    1. I think I read this comment 17 times. Tons to say, but I’ll just start with thank you. Fist bump for being on the same color page, Sandy. 5 a.m. is a good time to catch up on blogs because you don’t have to share snacks with any kids usually.

      Happy mother’s day. Here’s to hoping for a clear mind and a kickass nap for you today.

    1. Thanks Megan. I’m glad you didn’t see purple as too tied to Texas Christian or something like that! Seriously, though, thanks … life can give me a little of both the rosey and blue, and it’s just fine with me.

      it’s better than pitch dark, for sure.

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