Dad, it’s Father’s Day. Eight years since I was able to say that in person to you. I miss that.
I’m at Kerala and Ronnie’s house. Zadie is next to me on the couch, Kerala and her little brother Malik are next to her (but Malik is still in the belly). Later today we’ll see Ian and Damion, Talia will be here tonight, four of your five grandchildren gathered to welcome your next great grandchild into the family.
Without Hallmark, I still would take the time to talk to you, but it helps that the calendar reminds me. I imagine I’ve thanked you for just about everything I could think of, but the renewal of thanks is perpetual. So here are four things that come to mind:
1. Piano lessons: How impoverished my life would have been without Bach, Beethoven, Chopin and Debussy to keep me company, without enough technical skills to also find the blues and bossa nova and be-bop and the Great American Songbook hidden in those 88 keys and awaiting my efforts to bring them into the light.
2. Pingry High School: So much I didn’t love about that good-old-boy place, but the English department was excellent and did lead me to the once school I loved, Antioch College.
3. Tolerance: You were a far cry from a freedom-fighter or crusader for social justice, but you didn’t infect me with deep-seated racist/classist/sexist notions. Your live-and-let-live way of thinking gave me the freedom to discover for myself what was—and is— so flagrantly unfair and unjust in society.
4. Intellectual curiosity: Your scientific mind remained curious about the universe to the end and though my cosmic questions have led me to different branches of human thought— mythology, anthropology, Buddhism and beyond, still we share that appetite to keep probing and investigating.
And of course, as a small P.S., Crostic puzzles!
So thanks, Dad, for all these gifts and making Father’s Day a happy occasion to remember.