The River Scene – Honestly Dad

MA & Dad selfie in car #3

The River Scene – Honestly Dad

MA & her Dad, 2016

Do you want my honest answer? Or one that makes you feel better? Click To Tweet

How would you sum up your Dad?

With Father’s Day around the corner, I thought I’d share a scene from a recent screenplay I finished writing, entitled “The Pooh Stone.” The dialogue is a compilation based on several real-life conversations I had with my Dad in the weeks following my husband, John’s, death (and in the years to follow):

I loved writing this scene…I felt like I was right there at the river’s edge with my Dad (he passed away a few years ago). This scene takes place about a couple of weeks after “Sam’s” death (I am “Alex” and John is “Sam”):

EXT. DOG PARK – CALGARY – DAY

Alex and her dad walk Sasha along river. Alex throws ball for Sasha and she races after it.

ALEX

So…I gather you don’t believe in the possibility of some sort of divine plan unfolding here?

DAD

(smiles)

That would be correct.

ALEX

Then how do you explain all the weird stuff that’s gone on?

Alex’s Dad stops walking so Alex does, too.

ALEX’S DAD

Do you want my honest answer? Or one that makes you feel better?

ALEX

(sighs)

The honest one…I guess.

Sasha returns with ball and drops it at Alex’s feet. Alex picks up ball and throws it. Sasha races off. Alex and her Dad resume walking.

ALEX’S DAD

Do you remember when you were little and we used to look up at the stars together?

ALEX

(snorts)

Yeah. You’d tell me I was wasting my time wishing on shooting stars!

ALEX’S DAD

(smiles)

So…you know how when we look up at the stars and see, for example, the Big Dipper?

ALEX

Yeah…

ALEX’S DAD

Well…it’s not as if the stars were designed to be in the shape of a big soup ladle. That’s just how the configuration of stars ended up, right?

ALEX

Right…

ALEX’S DAD

But then someone came along…

Alex’s Dad points to sky and with his index finger, makes the shape of the Big Dipper.

ALEX’S DAD (CONT’D)

And connected those dots into a meaningful pattern and called it “The Big Dipper.”

Alex nods slowly, listening carefully. Sasha comes up and drops the ball at her feet again. Alex shakes her head.

ALEX

(to Sasha)

Nope. That’ll do, Pooh.

Sasha picks up ball and walks alongside Alex and her Dad.

ALEX’S DAD

What I’m saying is…the human brain seeks patterns, Alex. People have been searching for meaning in their surroundings for thousands of years…it’s how we make sense of our world.

ALEX

(glum)

I wish I went with the answer that made me feel better.

Alex and her Dad stop and sit at bench overlooking river. Sasha lies down, ball in mouth.

ALEX’S DAD

I’m sorry…but I’m not going to lie to you about my beliefs.

ALEX

So I see.

ALEX’S DAD

(sighs)

I think it is absolutely terrifying for most people to think we are all alone down here…

Alex’s Dad sweeps his arm across the river.

ALEX’S DAD (CONT’D)

That all this is just randomly unfolding…with no larger entity at the helm, guiding the ship.

(shrugs)

So we make up stories to explain how we got here, WHY we’re here…that we’re still being cared for while we’re here…and where we go next.

ALEX

Wow…you sure know how to rain on a widow’s parade!

Obviously, my Dad was very honest about his beliefs. Even though I was in a highly vulnerable state, he still felt the need to be candid. He didn’t tell me what I wanted to hear. In hindsight, I’m awfully glad he didn’t.

I’m not saying my Dad was correct in his beliefs (he may have been…but who knows?). But I am thankful he had the courage to provide me with a valuable perspective that helped pave the way for a more…balanced spiritual journey.

If you wanted advice from your Dad, would he give you the straight goods...or candy-coat it? Click To Tweet
MA in rose-colored glasses, 2002

Related Blogs by Maryanne

Connecting Through Memories – Real or Imagined

Tempus Fugit – Bahamas Reflections on My Dad

When the Engine Light is Red

A Few Laughs for Father’s Day

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Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. To receive her weekly blog, Weekly Words of Wisdom, please sign up here.

 

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4 thoughts on “The River Scene – Honestly Dad”

  1. I love this scene, and could envision it unfolding. Thanks for sharing it with us MA. I’ve had many conversations with my Dad, along the Bow River, among many other places. I could count on him to give me his absolutely honest interpretation of everything, since he was a self proclaimed expert on all things spiritual (being a Baptist Minister). He would have told you that God is watching over you and nothing happens without His guiding hand. And all those “weird things” would be a direct result of God’s Will and His abiding love for all creation, including you. We didn’t agree on many things, spiritual or otherwise, but I miss him very much, and this scene has reminded me to celebrate him and his love of nature, God, and me. Thanks MA. What a beautiful scene.

  2. Oh Pamela…it is so good to hear from you! Thank you so much for sharing your feedback about your own Dad. And I love how you & your Dad had conversations by the Bow River as well…that is exactly where this scene took place. I love what you wrote about how even though we don’t always agree with each other on our beliefs (spiritual or otherwise), when we can remember the love we shared and what we DID have in common, there is cause to celebrate.
    Our memories & imaginations…and hearts 🙂 can be very powerful healers indeed.

    Big hugs to you…I shall be there in spirit with you on your next walk at Island View!
    Take care & stay well,
    Maryanne

  3. Wonderful memories of our dads. Thanks for sharing. If only we had more time with them.

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