Friday, February 17, 2017

Twenty Years

On February 23, Dad will have been dead for twenty years. Twenty years.
Before 9/11.
Before the genocide in the Middle East.
Long before the current Islamophobia.
At the brink of a new century when the future still looked wide-open, it may have been a good time to die.
But it was also before he saw his grandchildren married.
It was before his great-grandchildren ever got the chance to know him.
It was before m first book was published, the first edition of my journal appeared and many of the events that constitute a large part of my identity today had even taken place.
It was another world.

On the very few times occasions Dad’s sons and daughters have had the chance to get together, our memories of him are all from  different vantage points. Rather like looking at a cubist painting, we all see different sides.  We all draw different portraits with the materials we have.  I can remember him in his Navy uniform, khaki for everyday and dress blues for special occasion. Ed can recall times when Dad took him fishing – something I never experienced.  We all have our pieces of the mosaic.

I’d like to hear from all of you who knew him.  Is there a memory that you have of him that you think the rest of us might not have?  Is there some particular recollection that is special to you for some reason.  If we can put some of the pieces together, perhaps we can get a better picture of him, even if it does look a bit Picasso-ish. I’m just going to record a fragment of a memory I have that I don’t think the rest of you do. So I will start off. If you can leave yours in the comments section, I think all of us will find them interesting.

My earliest memory of doing anything with Dad was when we lived in El Sobrante.  I was four years old.  At the time, we had a dog named Toughy – a mongrel, I think. It was not a big dog, but it was aggressive.  It pulled at the clothes on the line when Mom hung them up and chased me around our yard.  I was terrified of it.  Dad was a generally kind person, but he had no room for complainers – whether about there own situation or other people. (One of his favorite expressions was, if you don’t have something good to say about somebody, don’t say anything.)  I reacted like a typical four year old.  Eventually my whining got the best of him, so he told me to get in the car and he took the dog with us.  El Sobrante was in a rural area and we drove down a road along a field until Dad stopped the car and opened the door.  The last I ever saw of Toughy was when he disappeared into the tall grass.

There is one more bit to my memory of Dad and living in El Sobrante, but it is even more fragmentary, so I’ll stop now.

Add yours.