Dad’s Paper Boat

When my father retired, he started to make paper boats from newspaper.  He was making a lot of them and giving them away.

I didn’t think much of it and was even a little annoyed because he was giving them to me each time I visited him.  They were all of the same design!

“Why doesn’t he make some other origamis?  Why use newspaper instead of pretty origami paper if they are intended as gift?  Is he going senile?”  I wondered.

I didn’t know why he was doing it until he passed away and I was at his funeral.  Junim who had taken piano lessons from him and one of the recipients of his paper boats talked about it as part of her eulogy.  “He was giving me these paper boats every time I went to see him.  So one day when I went to visit him in the hospital asked him why.  He said ‘Because I want you to be a fisher of men.”  What Jesus said when he called his disciples.

I understood then and I was filled with remorse.  Dad, I’m so sorry.  I didn’t know!   I’d thrown them away.

Oh, father why didn’t you tell me?  But if he told me while he was alive, it may not have registered in my head as much as it did when I heard it at his funeral.

Dad was a music professor, and a conductor of symphony orchestra.  I remember Dad being a handsome man, standing tall on the stage to conduct his (the symphony) orchestra.  Whenever I was at his performance,  my heart was filled with admiration.

When he retired from the stage and limelight for good, he was not a super star any more.  No more applauding audience waiting for him.  But he never stopped using his God given talent.  He started to conduct (the) choir at his church.  When he was too old even to do that, he volunteered to visit nursing homes and played the musical saw for residents.  My mother said that many residents who suffer from memory loss could sing along long forgotten hymns when he played the saw.  He continued the work until shortly before his death.

After his funeral, I regretted throwing away the boats.  So, I decided to learn to make the boat myself.  I found the instruction at Youtube.  It’s not that simple to make it I realized.

I think of Dad’s old shaky hands working diligently making them.  Get a hold of a piece of old newspaper.  Fold it diagonally to create a square shape.  Crease the edge with his right thumb nail and carefully tear (cut) off the  rest.  Then, proceed to make the boat by keep folding and folding it getting his fingers dirtied from newspaper ink during the process.

I regret not understanding his intent sooner.  But, it’s not too late.  Dad, I got it now.  I’m so proud of you.  I will make the boat and relay the message to others until I see you again.



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