I was off to see my kids
to take them to a movie
I remembered the time
dad took me to Disneyland.
Brothers and sisters all piling out of the car
excited to make the journey to the park entrance.
I was just growing into my teenage skin.
Still had boyhood urges to ride Dad’s tall broad shoulders;
Tiny hands locked over the thick wrinkles of his forehead
as we walked with the crowds
across the prairie sized parking lot
towards that magical entrance
He pulled out his black leather wallet.
It was worn like the old bills of money he began to count.
Pulling the toothpick from his mouth,
his eyes peered to the right corner of the sky;
I could see he was thinking father thoughts.
As we walked closer to the turnstiles,
the letters “D-I-S-N-E-Y-L-A-N-D” were growing bigger
across the gates entrance
And Dad, tightly gripping his cash
bunched with some stained unused ride tickets
he saved from previous trips,
leaned over to me,
taking that wet splintered
tooth pick from his mouth,
he told me to say I was under eleven.
I felt like he just placed me in someone else’s underwear;
He just wanted some support,
an honest smile to the worker at the admissions counter,
and if I was asked,
he told me what to tell them–
Discomfort poured over my soul like warm maple syrup,
I was afraid I would tell the truth!
We slowly approached that ticket window.
Had this pretty girl in it adorned in Disney wear;
Brightly colored clothes and flight attendant hat.
She smiled and asked “how many”?
Dad muttered, “one adult, four juniors,”
Than pointing to me, he said, “one child”
I felt her happy eyes staring back at me
As Dad handed her some money.
She knew our secret, yet she never spoke a word.
I silently thanked her for that, I am sure Dad did too.
Arriving to pick up my three children,
they all jumped in my car,
asking me, “what movie are we going to see”?
I replied, “anyone we can agree on,
Just let me do the talking at that ticket window”!