Happy Father’s Day 

 

There is much that I would say to my father if he was still alive. I believe that is universal to all of us who have had our fathers pass beyond. I’m a few years older now than my father was when he died and it’s interesting how much smarter our parents get as we grow older isn’t it?

Fathers are precious gifts to their sons and in the right circumstances, they teach us how men are expected to behave through their examples. For the most part, I was raised by my grandfather, who was very much a father and an example to me. I hope that my life will be a credit to him and to the standards that he set for me even though he died when I was 13 years of age.

 

Una Palabra by Carlos Varela

A word says nothing
Una palabra no dice nada

And at the same time hides everything
Y al mismo tiempo lo esconde todo

Like the wind that hides the water
Igual que el viento que esconde el agua

Like the flowers that the mud hides
Como las flores que esconde el lodo

 

A look says nothing
Una mirada no dice nada

And at the same time says it all
Y al mismo tiempo lo dice todo

Like the rain on your face
Como la lluvia sobre tu cara

Or some old treasure map
O el viejo mapa de algún tesoro

Like the rain on your face
Como la lluvia sobre tu cara

Or some old treasure map
O el viejo mapa de algún tesoro

 

A truth says nothing
Una verdad no dice nada

And at the same time hides everything
Y al mismo tiempo lo esconde todo

Like a fire that doesn’t go out
Como una hoguera que no se apaga

Like a stone that is born dust
Como una piedra que nace polvo

 

If one day you miss me I will be nothing

Si un día me faltas no seré nada

And at the same time I will be everything
Y al mismo tiempo lo seré todo

Because in your eyes are my wings
Porque en tus ojos están mis alas

And there is the shore where I drown
Y está la orilla donde me ahogo

Because in your eyes are my wings
Porque en tus ojos están mis alas

And there is the shore where I drown
Y está la orilla donde me ahogo

30 COMMENTS

  1. Read something by a guy who was stationed overseas for several tours of duty. His wife and son stayed at his parents place while he was away.
    When he came back, he marveled at how much his son’s actions and words were copies of his own.
    Then he saw that HIS father moved and spoke the same way and he realized that both he and his son were mirrors of his own father.
    Sometimes you can’t see the lessons you picked up until after you see them reflected in your own children.

    • I remain very close to my daughters even though they are grown and have families of their own. Sometimes I wince when I see myself in them. MRSLL winces when she sees herself in them. They are all very free thinkers in their own right, but they do reflect their parents as you suggest.

      I see my father in myself and my grandfather at times. I wonder what they’d make of this modern world that has been dumped on us. I expect that their reactions would be very close to mine. They’d be chanting, “Let’s go Brandon!”

      • My father and I were not close when I grew up.
        We weren’t at odds. He was busy.
        At one point he was told he had 6 months to live.
        I was told by my wife to spend as much time with him as I could.
        He and I had breakfast every Saturday and often hung out during the day.
        I’d take him to work with me if an emergency came up.
        We prayed for him and we ended up doing this for 6 years, not months.
        I don’t miss him. I know every story he ever told. Repeatedly. 😀
        I know every bit of advice he would give me.
        I know what dad would do. And often do it.
        When I speak or especially sing, I often hear his voice where mine should be.
        He got saved shortly before his death. I am grateful for that.
        As David said of his son, I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.

  2. I took my dad to the Holstein show at the Kansas state fair every year later in his life so he could catch up with his younger dairy farmer buddies, his older buddies were gone by then, to look at good cows, and to smell the smells that are endemic to the bovine species. When he was 100 a Wichita television station interviewed him about his time showing cattle. He had casually mentioned that my mother, having grown up on a farm, swore she wouldn’t marry a farmer. The reporter prodded him on why she had married him? He matter of factly replied; “well, look at me!” Indeed!

  3. Daddy wrote Mother from Guadalcanal to buy some nice dresses because when he got home, they were gonna go places and see things, so she did. He took her to Michigan, fishing.

      • Pretty good, walleye mostly and pretty nice sized from the photos that have survived. One hilarious story was the day Dad pi$$ed off a water moccasin. It tried to get in the boat with them and he was gonna wait til it came over the gunnel and whack it with an oar. Mother had other ideas and was gonna jump out on the opposite side and swim for it, so there’s dear old Dad trying to whack the snake one handed and keep Mother in the boat at the same time. In truth, I said “hilarious” but I’m pretty sure neither one of them thought it was funny.

        The snake’s opinion was not reported……

  4. My Dad raised three of us, with me at the far last of 6 years after my brother and 8 years after my sister. He had gone into the Marines in 43 at 17 and to the Pacific. He was severely wounded on Okinawa and spent the next year in traction in a Naval Hospital. They put him on medical retirement and released him. He married my mom in 49 and my sister came in 50. They had nothing and we had nothing until the 60s. Later both my Dad and Mom finish college.

    He was always going into the VA every 6 months to have his back straightened out via weights. It never stopped him from being a father. My Dad died right after 2000 from a stroke.

    • My father was wounded in the war when his destroyer was struck by a kamikaze off Okinawa. The physical wound healed but his memories of the dead haunted him until he died at age 62 in an automobile accident.

  5. My brothers and I, in our more seasoned years, have figured out we three embody portions of our dad; together we make him. In a word: fortunate…because he was the epitome; mentor, gentleman, wise, a quiet but strong faith, humble but strong, serious when need be, a consummate teacher in everything (sports, fishing, construction, how to wash and wax an repair a car, think through problems, etc.). He was – is – a huge presence, especially in how he treated our mother…they were a team. His biggest lesson was “to never stop learning.” As he gained success in business he never forgot the small beginnings of where he came from, treating everyone with the respect they deserved (or not). Tough but fair, and no ego.

    We three are a product of his influence, as well as my cousin who spent time with him as well. Hearing our cousins perspective sheds even more light on the man’s greatness. Maybe that is why for 50 years fathers – and God’s prescription within a marriage – has been undermined, attacked even. Society need dad’s, for balance, fortitude, fairness, and even toughness.

    Sadly, I’ve outlived my dad nearly five years now…lost him way too soon, some 25 years ago. We all miss his wise “no fluff” council…everyday. But we “four” keep his spirit alive in all we do. We even have a name for it “LFM”…his initials.

    • There is always the empty seat at the table that you wish was filled. The wisdom when needed, the snark and the kidding around when it wasn’t.

      • Hard to fill that legacy void, but we manage to touch upon it here and there. And dad was a kidder, he’d say “Can’t kid a kidder.” That’s the good stuff we carry with us in our everyday.

    • For those not quite as up on Spanish:

      The moon is shining on the Pecos Mountains
      Like a blue and silver dream
      And far away below the moonlit mountains
      You are standing in your field
      You are an old man, the earth is in your voice
      And in the songs that spill from your memory
      A hoe in your old hand, black water in the furrowed rows
      You sing our lives as they used to be

      Mi abuelito
      Tomorrow morning we will carry you
      Beyond the village to a stony hill
      And rest you there beside your brightest blanket
      Leaves and diamonds that you wove last year
      Then, with our song
      We will call for the summer stars
      To fill the sky like a silver dream
      How we will sing
      As we hold to the memory of your earthen voice
      On the moonlit field

      One of my compadre’s favorite songs was Mexico Lindo. Not necessarily a tribute to fathers or grandfathers, but a worthy song. He died in the War on Terror. He wasn’t Latino but he learned Spanish for the job and loved the culture. I miss the guy. We held a wake for him at a dive bar in Ensenada, and put his cowboy hat on the table and his boots on his chair. He had to girls who worshiped their father. I hope that they’re doing ok. His father-in-law passed away and his wife, daughters and mother-in-law moved. I lost track as have his other buddies.

  6. Mr. Mark Twain:

    “When I was fourteen, I could hardly stand to be around my father, he was so ignorant. When I became 21, I was amazed at how much he had learned in seven years.” My dad passed away @ 72 in 2008. I miss him every single day.

    • Hal Holbrook does a wonderful rendition of this performing as Mark Twain. My folks divorced when I was 8. I didn’t really get to know my dad until my college years, but am grateful for that.

      Our kids are boy, girl, boy. I am happy to report none of them are wall flowers. I have the grey hair to prove it. One day when our daughter was about 4, she and I met at the end of our hallway. The afternoon sun was coming in the living room windows and lit me up, highlighting my early bits of grey hair. The apple of my eye stopped, looked up at me as if seeing me for the first time ever, and said, “Dad, you look really old”.

      She took me to see the new “Top Gun” movie yesterday. She and her husband had already seen it once. Friday was our youngest son’s day off, so he took me to the range. Shot my new Canik, and my long serving 1875 Remington repro 44-40.

  7. My dad passed when we I finally reached the point where a beer, a long afternoon, and conversation were moments to cherish. I finally found the man he became, was understanding the life that patterned his thinking, and learning from his experiences. I wanted to hear more about his younger life, his impression of the people of Occupied Japan, and what was going through his mind as he walked through the destroyed streets of Hiroshima. His description of sailing through a typhoon in a destroyer was riveting, but there was more to know about the rest of his time in Korea. There was so much to know, but he was gone before I reached my mid-thirties.

  8. My Old Man- The older I get, the smarter he was.
    He had a remarkable reserve of fortitude and resilience. When things got tough, he calmly buckled down and got to work.
    He once told me about the night he found himself severely wounded in a ditch, among dead and dying members of his squad.
    He never expected to survive that night, much less to make it home and start a family.
    He said he considered every day a Gift and knew he would prevail over any problem he might encounter.

    RIP, Old Man.

  9. Father’s Day is difficult for me to enjoy. First, the thoughts of my grandchildren losing their father when he was just 41.
    Second, my father who died at 64 from undiagnosed sleep apnea. Our relationship as I was growing up was strained. I got to hold the flashlight, so to speak. He was cattle, my mother sheep, and their marriage a range war that ended after 30 years.
    At age 60, he reinvented himself. The new Dad and I were starting to grow closer and heal old wounds when he died. What really saddens me is my sons didn’t have time with him. Other than me, he was wonderful working with growing boys and so much to pass on.

  10. Moved by this post.

    My Father was brilliant, not kidding. Insufferable at times, ferocious towards those he thought should know better and most mild towards those who didn’t. As with all smart men his synapses fired more quickly than others and were tempered, I’d say, by charity. He got a scholarship to Yale back when that place was a university, you’d have got on well.

  11. “it’s interesting how much smarter our parents get as we grow older isn’t it?”

    I think all kids come to realize this. I know I did.

    Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers who read here. You all be safe and God bless.

  12. “My life has been a poor attempt to imitate the man, I’m just a living legacy to the leader of the band.” Dan Fogelberg RIP

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