I see you.

I sit here writing this post with game one of the World Series between the New York Mets and the Kansas City Royals turned on with the sound down, keeping an eye on the score. I am thinking about who my dad might have rooted for, I don’t really have to wonder about it too long because he would always root for the underdog, in baseball and in life, plus he loved good barbecue so I do believe his thunderous clapping of support would be for those boys from Kansas City.

Yesterday I pushed the button on the elevator making my way from the lower level of the parking garage riding to the plaza platform of Washington Park walking my daily path into Music Hall. The African American  man approaching me was barely more than 5ft tall, he wore a grey herringbone newsboy hat, similar to the one my dad would sometimes wear golfing. Our eyes met in the morning sunlight and I let a sleepy smile spread across my face at him, he then asked “How is that leg doing?” I didn’t think about it much just answered the question as people are often asking me how I am feeling. “Oh, pretty good. Slowly but surely it will be better, thank you for asking.” then he looked at me in a way I just couldn’t put a familiar finger on, I racked my brain thinking of where I might have known him from, he just grinned and pointed at me saying ” I see you.” the laugh that he left lingering behind as he continued walking down 14th street, made me bite down on my bottom lip, just to feel something else, something other than the odd sensation that had come over me. I reached the front door of my office space and immediately caught my reflection in the glass door, I was not wearing my air cast. I had decided to give my Achilles a little break from having it on all the time at the instruction of the surgeon, who wanted me to try and go without it on the days I would not be walking a lot.


The stubborn rain beat down on the hood of my car as I drove the bittersweet back roads to the trip I make every year. The one where I stop at White Castle, order a small coffee with extra cream and carry it like a chalice to the spot where I take a drink, then methodically sit the cup down next to the headstone of my Dad’s grave. I gingerly lowered myself down into the soggy bed of leaves, welcoming the cool sensation sinking into me, something to let me know I am still alive in those moments in this place of death where I often feel so lifeless. The missing never gets easier, if anything the sensation of longing for me is concentrated to such an overwhelming sense of desperation that nothing seems to ease that resonating ache. Then I remembered as I  sat there in the damp stillness suddenly feeling my breath float away. When I was a kid, learning to ride my bike, figuring out how to hit a baseball, swim in the deep end of the pool, learning, exploring, seeking his approval, my Dad would often encourage me by saying. ” I see you, kiddo.”

Now I am just about as resistant to signs from the universe as you can get, they have failed me so many times in the past, a painstaking shattered glass cobweb staining my rear view, but I just can’t shake the feeling that came over me and there is no one else who can decide it’s power but me. Still, I wanted to share it with you as tomorrow would have been my Dad’s 100th birthday. I guess I am choosing to believe.

Something else I wanted to share with you is that when I stepped on the scale Monday morning with Scott, I did in fact shed the weight I was up the prior weigh-in and managed an additional 1/2 lb loss (total of 4.3 loss over two weeks.) That felt good, almost like a clean slate. I am very motivated as I go forward over the next two weeks to really focus and do my best.




“The place where you hold me
Is dark in a pocket of truth
The moon had swallowed the sun
And the light of the earth

And so it was for you
When the river eclipsed your life
And sent your soul like a message
In a bottle to me
And it was my rebirth

 So we know we’re alright
Though life will come, life will go
Still you’ll feel it’s alright
Someone’ll will get a letter to your soul
And you know it’s all right
Each life has it’s place.”  e.sailers

Happy birthday, Dad. You are forever loved and forever missed by so many.


John L. Hiltenbeitel Oct 28, 1915-Apr 2003 Son, brother, husband,father,uncle, friend, awesome pancake maker, tickler, baseball player and storyteller.

John L. Hiltenbeitel
Oct 28, 1915-Apr 28, 2003
Son, brother, husband,father,uncle, friend, awesome pancake maker, artist, tickler, baseball player, storyteller and animal lover.






  1. Lillian says:

    A beautiful tribute and I do believe there was a sign there for you. Making a donation for those lost pounds – great!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

1 × five =

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.