Over the past few weeks it has felt like I’ve been home less than I’ve been away, traveling on a combination of Iceberg and non-Iceberg business. The week before last I was in New York City to accept the 2013 IPPY Award silver medal for A Daughter’s Gift –– a memorable and thoroughly enjoyable adventure to one of the world’s most famous cities.
Last week’s trip, however, was even more special: I went with Peter to my hometown of St. John’s, Newfoundland –– that rocky, hilly, windy city with colorful houses and surrounding vistas that still take my breath away. I was there primarily to attend a conference, but no trip to the rock can ever pass without certain pilgrimages, and so I made certain to set aside time for a particularly important destination.
My one free day was a Friday. We arrived at our hotel in the very early hours of Friday morning, but that was no deterrent to an early rise and a drive out to the beach readers of A Daughter’s Gift will know well –– the beach that gave Iceberg Publishing its name. I hadn’t been to Bellevue Beach since 2005, and I needed to go… needed to walk across the rocks, feel the wind, breathe the salt air.
It was there that I could complete the journey begun when Kenneth and I brought A Daughter’s Gift to the Top of the Rock in New York City. After seeing my dad’s story at the top of one of the world’s most famous skylines, I could now bring it back to the very beginning –– to the place it could best call home.
By the time we arrived at Bellevue that Friday morning, the skies had turned cloudy, but weren’t oppressive. The breeze was warm and the beach was deserted –– not another human soul anywhere to be seen. After parking up, I pulled my cross-body bag over my shoulder and stepped onto the beach.
The walk to the Old Man’s Head took more than half an hour –– there were stops along the way, rocks to study and hold in my hands. When I arrived, it was truly like visiting a friend. It will sound silly to some, but I know others will understand: I feel as if this beach, and that resilient Old Man’s Head, know me, as much as I know them. That is the magic of a place like Bellevue.
I said hello to the Old Man, and showed him that he was the new face of my father’s story. His expression remained stoic, but I could tell he was pleased. Greetings exchanged, we found a nook in the rock and stood the book with its medal. Then we all took pictures together –– a different kind of family photo that was absolutely perfect –– and I thanked the Old Man for helping us conclude this magnificent IPPY journey.
From New York to Newfoundland, my dad’s story has done precisely what Richard Joseph Barron did in his life, and continues to do as he stays with me in spirit: traveled the world over, and come home again.
As this story of A Daughter’s Gift comes to an end, I find myself reflecting on what comes next… on how a daughter’s gift becomes a father’s legacy. I look forward to the adventure.
I walk onto the beach and it knows me.
It is as though every step I’ve ever taken, every rock I’ve ever touched,
every word, every smile, every laugh, every moment with my father,
even our iceberg…
still exist there.
Treasured. Protected. Eternal.
And the place embraces me
and welcomes me home.