My father called my name, “Theresa.” I was sitting in the patio in the backyard of our home while he was just outside the screen door barbecuing on our charcoal grill. I looked up when I heard my name, but then he called my name louder, “Theresa!” His voice held that tone that told me I was in trouble.
Slowly, I opened the screen door. I didn’t know what I had done, but I was ready for his wrath as once again he yelled even louder, “Theresa!”
I was standing behind him when in the tiniest voice that I could muster, I said, “Yes?”
With that, he turned around in surprise. He looked at me then he looked at the chair that was on the grass where my doll, Patty Playpal, was sitting. Patty Playpal was about the same size as me and she had long dark hair. He looked back and forth a couple of times between me and the doll and then, to my great relief, he started to laugh. He thought I was the doll sitting in the chair and that I was ignoring him when he called me.
I remember this particular barbecue because of my dad’s mistaking the doll for me, but of course there were many. There were the times we roasted marshmallows on the dying coals. There were the times when we played “Ghost” in the yard with my dad, throwing the large rubber ball to each other and every time we missed, you got a letter until you spelled the word G-H-O-S-T and then you lost. The evenings mom helped us punch holes in the tin cap of a jar so that we could catch fireflies. The times in the hottest summer nights when we rolled out the old black and white television set to watch a show in the patio because it was much cooler than the house . . . the time the lights went out all over the east coast . . . so many memories. Backyard memories. Barbecue memories. Childhood memories. Treasured forever.
http://www.theresadodaro.com Author of The Tin Box Trilogy