August of anxiety, August of anticipation. August of projects summer didn't complete.
August in our house also means three significant birthdays, one of which is dad's. He would want us all to have a good steak and a better wine. He would want us to see Oppenheimer and talk about it on the front porch and watch the lightning bugs flicker higher and higher each night until they're gone. He would want to ask who that boy is you went out with last night and what are his parents like and he'd want to know their politics, whether any of them had read Proust. Then he'd say Marcel Proust in his exaggerated way that was always funny.
He would blow smoke rings.
He would slap mosquitoes against his legs.
He would love that we went to New Orleans, a city he also loved.
He would marvel at you, all of you, what you've all become, how you've managed the world after COVID and all the indignities you've suffered. He would pull your best stories from you and cradle them. He would tell you his.
He would love that when Mike Collins had his casts made for his space gloves before going to the moon, he left his wedding ring on. He would remark how kind Mike was.
He would love that we went to Huntsville and talk about Wernher von Braun and sing Tom Lehrer's song about him and then his song about Alma Mahler because that was his favorite.
And then the night would call us inside and he'd put on some Mahler and read before bed.