Tuesday, November 04, 2003
  The below was written in '94. Only a year after I lost my father, when I could still remember his voice and how he smelled and how he felt in my arms. Lots of things have changed since then. My mom was still alive back then. She died four years ago. I have yet to write something like this for her. Mostly because I have yet to forget how she sounded or looked. I have but to look in a mirror and laugh to remember how she sounded or looked. Sooner or later I'll do something similar to remind myself of her. She's fading slowly. My father faded much more quickly.
"My father died in the spring of 1993. I was not yet 27, he was not yet 63. This is for me and him. My father was a methodical man. He didn't window-shop when he could buy. He didn't talk when he could think. He didn't think when he could create. Buying a Christmas tree, for example, was a 5 minute deal. He'd walk into the lot and say: "That one looks good", pointing to whichever lucky shrub happened to be in front of him. "Let's go". He was like that with most every purchase he ever made. If we wanted something, we only had to point it out, and it was ours. Big or small. He took my brothers out one Saturday to buy a refrigerator and they came home with a boat. You just had to implant an idea in his mind and it was done. 1 2 3. Not so much because he loved and wanted to please us (there was that too) but because he wanted it over and done with. Raising 3 kids was my mom's job, he liked to kid himself that he was only there for the monetary end of things and that the sooner he bought us whatever it is that we wanted, the sooner we'd be out of his hair. I knew he loved us, though, even if at times he had a funny way of showing it. I saw it in some many stupid little things. The way his eyes sparkled when I spoke my mind. The way he would take my older brother Dave in to meet his friends at work, he was so proud of Dave. The way he would constantly try to figure out my younger brother, P.J. He never succeeded. Because they were so much alike and my father, though he knew it, was very much afraid of that fact. Almost as afraid as P.J. is, now. Father and youngest son are forever linked, in my mind at least, because despite their alleged spite for each other, the are too damn alike to be separate. They had both had rough childhoods, they both were alcoholics, they both were surprisingly gentle, compassionate, loving, loved individuals. Which is probably part of the reason that I love them so much. My dad led his personal life with his mitts up. This makes for a interesting first round, and then it starts to get annoying. I still know so little about his relatives except for the fact that he didn't like them. He never went to see them if he could help it, or my mom's relations either. He was no more a 'people person' than I am, and I suppose that he gave me his disdain for people. But, he gave me so many good things. He gave me things to light my dreams, and make me think. He gave me love of books; love of thought. He instilled a deep love of nature in me and my brothers. He made me think, forced me to argue with him. For he knew that books teach 'facts' but we alone must decide what to believe. He used to do these quirky little things like buy only teeny tiny cans of corn and peas, cus he ate like a bird and hated to waste anything. He was a NYC man. He loved New York City with a true passion. I doubt anybody but Mayor Koch has ever loved it as much. He tried to show me all the cool stuff about it, the museums, the art, the culture. He is where I learned to love sociology. We used to go down to Jones beach in the dead of winter and watch the old people. :) They had their own little community down there and I used to wonder if that was where he would spend his final days. I have a feeling he might have really dug that. :) My father taught me about music. Frank Sinatra and Beethoven; Mozart and Gershwin. Most of all he gave me a passion for it. A love for mine and a hatred for everybody else's. :) Dad was a painter, he taught me to look inside a piece of 'art' and see it as the painter did. He gave me a broad view of what constitutes art and taught me that there are many forms hidden in that one word. He was a storyteller, he loved to sit and muse for hours on a good story, and he loved to laugh and give laughter to others. I can remember nights where we had to strain to breathe from laughing too much. He would make my older brother and I literally fall over onto the floor with mirth. On summer nights I often wondered if the neighbors thought us mad as we and my parent's guests filled the night sky with our guffaws and cackles. I never met anyone who was not at least smiling widely after 5 minutes with my father. That was a gift he gave many people, and, I think, it is the one he will most be remembered for. I seriously doubt if my dad will ever be forgotten. And that's pretty damn cool. :) "

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