Tuesday, November 23, 2004


My father would have turned sixty today had he still been alive.
It's quite a surreal thought to consider that time stops for the deceased. My father is forever etched into my memories as fifty-eight. He does not grow older. He does not develop bad knees. He does not start forgetting things. He is as he was; personable, funny, charming, warm and loving.

I remember year after year we had a very hard time buying a present for him. Dad would always say that he had already gotten everything he wanted; a loving wife, two doting and accomplished daughters and a precocious son that inherited his personality. He found it very hard to discipline me because he would have acted out in the same way had he been my age (and as my grandmother always told me, he was a handful himself when he was younger).

My father was constantly supportive of my unconventional path. While he would have been happier seeing me devote myself to a more stable and practical lifestyle, he was proud of my creative side and encouraged it. I will never forget the day when Dad picked me up from school and had Bruce Springsteen's newest CDs ('Lucky Town' and 'Human Touch') waiting for me in the car. I remember when he bought me an Elton John boxed set for Chanukah and a Yes boxed set a couple of years later. I will never forget the day when he brought me to a small, independently-owned record store near my school so I could buy U2's 'Achtung Baby' the day it came out. The store hadn't even opened yet but we waited outside until the lethargic clerk unlocked the door. Perhaps this is the reason why this album is still my favorite record of all time. While it is inherently a brilliant masterpiece, the emotional value makes it even more significant to me and the story of my life.

Today I have been thinking a great deal about the present I would have bought him had he still been alive. And truthfully, as aforementioned, I would still have a difficult time. I wouldn't get him a tie, not a pair of socks or even the wool sweater vests he loved so much. But then again, I don't think I would buy him anything at all. Considering Dad made me what I am today, I would have to show him my gratitude by making him a mix CD. Sounds odd, perhaps. But I would want to give him some insight into what I care so much about. I would want to introduce him to the things I love so much thanks to his support. Because he encouraged this path, he brought me to the wonderful (albeit nearly-broke) place that I am right now. Granted he would probably not listen to mix all that often (he loved listening to the news) but it's the only thing I could think of. An 80-minute sampling of the gift that he will never stop giving to me despite his not being physically here.

I laugh when I recall how my father once called me to tell me that Sting was on TV. He excitingly told me that "Sting's on the TV now. Turn it on. Don't you like them?" I didn't have the heart to correct him because I was so touched. My father didn't even know if Sting was a man or a group. Nevertheless, he recognized the name probably from a time when he was in a record store with me. Dad thought of calling me right away--he was selfless like that.
And in my mind, in my memories, whenever I listen to music, he will always be that thoughtful dad. He will always remain caring, encouraging, and warm.

Moreover, he will always be fifty-eight.


Post a Comment

<< Home