Alec Niedenthal

Santa Laguna

Good afternoon. Friends of Dad, family, & colleagues of Dad. Thank you for 

coming on this sad occasion. Todd asked me to write my favorite memory with Dad 

as my eulogy because they always say I’m the writer of the family. That may be true, 

it may not. I had a hard time picking my favorite memory because so many stand 

out. Of course there are also many memories that stand out that to say the least 

aren’t my favorite. [NOTE: pause for laughter] Anyway, the one I think of most is 

about one time in San Destin. 

We used to go to the resort Santa Laguna every summer when we were kids. 

One time I was eight or nine. Todd must have been twelve. We were picking on girls, 

as boys will do. They were two girls & twins. I think a year or so older than me. Todd 

had picked up a tiny sand crab on his palm, about this big. [NOTE: show crowd size 

of sand crab] He was chasing them around the shore with them. They were both so 

scared that [NOTE: think of something descriptive in the limo ride] 

Anyway Dad appeared. He was wearing his one piece swimsuit that men 

would never wear now. We were more comfortable with style then. When I think of 

his swimsuit it’s like I see a picture of him. It’s like he’s right there. Dad appeared 

with his little pole arms and his flopping feet. He smacked Todd down on the sand. 

Pushed him into the sand mites and hurtful shells. Parents could do that then. It was 

okay to do that & best of all we learned. Todd learned how to treat women. Todd, I 

just want to say, I’m so glad you survived. I love you more than [NOTE: think of 

something in limo] 

I learned how to treat women well too. Those two girls went to scamper past 

us. Later I saw them making sand angels and started going to say hello. I wanted to 

apologize. No, Dad told me from his sun chair with his goggles on. Then he said, 

Don’t you dare. He had that way of just saying no and it was like you didn’t want to 

anymore. Even though he was small. He was small but he had a struggle inside of 

him that came out in such a way as this at Santa Laguna. 

When I heard about the car crash I thought my heart was falling. It felt like 

this. [NOTE: hit your heart] The end of the memory is me & Dad, I’m sitting with my 

butt in the sand & Dad is in the sun chair with the metal sun reflector. 

I remember this like l’m still there sitting in the sand & those clouds above me. 

Under the cloud it’s black. I say to Dad, Is it going to rain? 

Dad says, Only if you let it. The last thing I want to say is directly to Dad. 

[NOTE: look up to sky] Dad, I won’t let it.

 

ALEC NIEDENTHAL is a second-year MFA fellow at Brown University. Other recent work can be found in The Brooklyn Rail,Vol 1. Brooklyn, and Agriculture Reader