As odd as that sounds, it's true.
Picture if you will, me ten years ago in a little beige Buick, heading home from my folks' place. Less than a mile from the family homestead, I am blindsided by a headache. It's one of those nasty ones that come on suddenly, go away quickly, and occasionally cause brief blackouts.
I woke up in the ditch.
I walked the near-mile back to the house to let Dad know that I'd had "a bit of trouble". He loaded up the tow chain and we drove back to the site of the adventure. While I was Out with a capital O, I'd run right over a road sign mounted on a T-post.
If you are not familiar with these, it was one of those big metal jobs that require a great deal of force to bend. Like a car. The post was bent, right at the ground, almost perfectly parallel with the ground.
Dad towed my car out of the ditch, then walked over to the traumatized road sign. Planting one foot against the bend, he wrapped both hands around the post and PULLED THAT SUCKER STRAIGHT UP. Unbent. Except for the flaked paint, it looked fine.
I was impressed.
Having witnessed such a feat, I was hard-pressed to reconcile the image of the man in the hospital bed with my dad. Eyes closed, pale and quiet, fresh from surgery to correct a thirty-year-old injury. That's not really him, is it?
My dad is big and strong. His voice is big and strong. Who is this pale stranger with his face?
Before we were allowed in to see him, I reached into my knitting bag. And stopped. I ran a hand over the richly colored wool, the cool and bright needles, the red plastic bag from a well-known local shop. But I didn't knit. I didn't knit the night before, and I didn't knit all that morning. My hands were reaching for something else, too anxious to deal with the in-around-over-off of stitches. I carried my knitting with me anyway.
I watched the pale stranger in the hospital bed take a deep breath... and open his eyes. He saw me. He smiled. He squeezed my hand. It WAS my dad. Everything was going to be fine.
That night, I went home and kissed my sleeping little boy. I added several inches to a hat before going to bed.