I am two years old asleep in his arms. My father, Babbo, is 89 this year. I had an idyllic childhood. Lisa and I knew Babbo lived for us. How about the time he came home from a business trip, the late western sun streaming across his Harris tweed jacket lying folded over the green velvet wing-chair, as my five-year-old hands search inside his pockets. It's there, the surprise selected to amuse, beguile, and make our heart's sing. There it is—one small man wearing a driving cap, his hands on the wheel of a mini sports car—top down. Babbo only drives convertibles. And will you look at that on the underbody instead of an axel and tires, it has tentacles like a creature from the deep. Apollo winds it up, in full measure when we play—Babbo becomes Apollo. He does so everytime, we think nothing of it anymore. The season's woodland nymphs stand in the glade, all eyes peeled on his radiant form. The car and driver begin their ascent over the ivory plastered walls of our living room. We squeal. We jump. We run around in circles as the intrepid wayfarer peels blithely along, approaching the ceiling, like a skilled spider he navigates the precipice—he's traveling upside down, his jaunty head bobbing, further still crawls the driver until he runs out of gas—plummeting from the heavens to earth. But he has nothing to fear because he is in Apollo's hands. He'll live to see the light of day. Apollo has more tricks in his bag. After winding it one more time, ever so slightly, the driver begins touring Apollo's forehead—this is the cat's meow—our god wears a tiny man in a chariot for a crown. But wait, the foreign rover left an imprint on passing, marking the outline of a pink road over the middle of his brow which Babbo will wear to the office in the morning. His very own roadmap of love. And Lisa and I, we orbit, take a spin, dodging planets, and miraculously land back on earth at his waiting feet.
—G. B. Congdon
3rd June 2018