I am walking on a road, pale gravel in large chunks mixed with asphalt, like in the development I grew up in. Sharp incline and trees to the right of me. Someone behind me calls my name and I turn. It's Dad, running toward me. Breathless, he tells me that I can go back now, the glasses have arrived and they are waiting for me there. So I don't need to do this errand of going to get the glasses. He has hair on top of his head and it's gray, not white. There are beads of sweat across his nose, which has no scars from melanoma surgery. And he can run.
My dad is turning 80 next Sunday. I have no idea what to get him for a present. The nicest present I heard of lately was a box containing love that should never be opened, and kept with the recipient at all times. I asked Mom what to get him and she said "sweatpants." I walked around Burlington Coat Factory for twenty minutes last night holding a pair of fleece sweatpants and finally returned them to the rack. My mom's other idea was "a sweater." All the sweaters at Burlington Coat Factory were acrylic or low-pile chenille, the kind that look nice the first time you wear them and then hang strangely at the waist and elbows. I don't know where in the Hudson Valley you can find an excellent brightly-colored wool sweater of the type I used to get on Broadway in Manhattan from Ecuadorans. My son wants to get him a model airplane, a good present.
I love my dad but if he answers when I call he passes the phone as rapidly as possible to my mom and I really don't know him very well except he loves airplanes and carousels and when he's tipsy he tells stories from his life in industrial design and manufacturing which sounds boring but actually is full of rich and eccentric characters and he tells them with tears in his eyes.
Because I dreamed of him I'm worried about him and want to call but it's 7:14 and if everything's fine he's probably asleep. So I'm not going to bother him. I'll call him in a half hour.