Our trip to Newport, Rhode Island delivered a timely reminder of Dad’s faith in heaven.
by- Posted on Mar 15, 2016
I thought I knew every nook and cranny of Newport, Rhode Island, my family’s vacation destination for countless summers. Then I gazed up at the beautiful four-faced Gilded-Age-style street clock in Frederick Law Olmsted Park, on the corner of Bellevue and Victoria avenues. I walked around it in awe, snapping photos with my phone, attempting to capture the way the gold accents shone against the black matte finish. How had I never noticed this gem before? Dad and I must have passed it on one of our walks…
My awe quickly turned to sadness. There’d be no more walks with Dad. Born March 16, 1942, he’d died just a week before his 73rd birthday. Dad was a man of strong faith and never doubted heaven—but I needed a sign to know he wasn’t gone forever. All I’d found was a Bible verse corresponding with the date of his birthday. John 3:16—whoever believes in God, “will not perish but have eternal life.” Dad would have thought that was no coincidence. I wanted to believe that too, but my grief made it hard. Returning to Newport and confronting so many memories made it even harder.
I remembered our last trip here four years ago when my husband and I drove up with our kids from Georgia to enjoy this charming seaside town. Dad drove down from Massachusetts to meet us. Dad loved the cobblestone streets, the delicious stuffed quahogs, and the little antique shops as much as we did. He manned the grill for a family BBQ at our timeshare property and gave us “sneak-a-bites” of whatever he had cooking. I’d been planning to talk to Dad about going back again when I saw him on March 16th, at his birthday celebration, but I never got the chance.
If only we’d had more time. Maybe that was why the clock stood out to me. I lowered my phone and shielded the screen from the sunlight to examine the photo I’d taken. I zoomed in to see if I’d captured all the detail. My eyes were drawn to the clock’s golden hands.
The big hand was on the 3, the little hand on 16.
Out of 1,440 minutes in the day, I happened here at precisely 3:16. A time to remember that one day, I’d walk with my dad again.