Almost every conversation I had with my dad started with two simple words: Hey Bud.
I'd always known my dad was a creature of habit from his (rather lengthy) morning routine to his scientific rotation of the suits he wore to his public prayers. But I only came to see this particular pattern after he died. I recognized the pattern immediately when listening to voicemails he'd left me over the last two years. (There are benefits to archiving everything.)
Even knowing how much of a creature of habit my dad was, I was still struck by the near verbatim similarities in these voicemails over the last two years. As I've listened to them in the nearly nine months since he died suddenly, I keep coming back to those first two words: Hey Bud.
They are just one of many connecting points with my dad, but they have become part of how I partake in the sacred act of remembering. This is why I chose to get a tattoo of them in my dad's handwriting recently. These two words help me remember who he was and who he pushed me to be.
These two words are neither profound nor unique, but in their habitual simplicity they were quintessentially him. And now they are indelibly me.