We have Father’s Day coming up on the 15th of the month. Since I am not a father (to my knowledge) and my own father is long-since deceased it shouldn’t meant that much to me.
Yet, in a kind of odd way it does. It’s an ‘odd’ way because I sometimes don’t understand my own emotions on matters paternal.
In that I have always envied those who have a deep personal bond with their fathers. I have known such people.
Some facts about me, my dad, and life with the senior Lidster:
– I did not have a father for the first 2 /1/2 years of my life. He was away with the navy. One day he arrived at the door with a duffel bag and bell-bottom trousers, and I said: “Mother, who is that bastard?” Well, I didn’t say that but I’ll be I thought it. Now I was going to have to share her. Oh, and he didn’t have bell-bottoms as he was a petty officer and they wore regular trousers. But I have noticed on NCIS that petty officers get bumped off with much regularity. I think I understand why that happens.
– my father was a harsh-taskmaster. He brooked no misbehavior, insolence, rudeness or any of the other facets of juvenility. If I, in dealing with my father, were as rude as some contemporary kids I wouldn’t be here to write this. He did not beat us. In fact, I don’t really remember his having laid a hand on me or my brothers, but he yelled, and he slammed doors, and stamped his feet and was a really immature prick sometimes, and he was scary, too. But I’ll excuse him for a bit of his bad behavior as he was treated most cruelly by his own Victorian father, who actually did beat him. Ironically, I really liked his dad, my grandfather and double irony, he liked me more than my own father appeared to like me.
– I was never sure if my father actually liked me. Loved me? That never entered any realm of speculation.
– My father really loved my first wife, not so much my 2nd, and he never met Wendy.
– My parents did not get on and they had seemingly incessant rows, but they stuck it out. I have no idea why, but my father was also very responsible and if he had made a commitment he would stick to it.
– My father taught me how to do a valve job on a car.
– He was never profane in my earshot.
– We once did a big project together, which included pulling the engine and overhauling it from a wreck of a car I picked up as a kid. And we actually got the sonofabitch running and I drove ii for two years. I remember that project as a good time with barely a harsh word between us.
– He was the most skinflinted bastard I have ever known. He would squeeze a penny until it bled. When my first wife and I married he wanted to take the wedding photos. He then wanted to charge us for them. My mother set him straight on that one.
– He was one of the most honorable and honest men I have ever known, and hugely respected in his field. Once during a university summer job I was chatting with a workmate who asked if I was related to Wally Lidster. I said he was my father. Well, my dad had once been the guy’s instructor and he effusively described my father as one of the most wonderful men he’d ever encountered. I couldn’t help but wonder if we were talking about the same guy.
My father died in June of 1996. I realized almost immediately that I actually missed him. I don’t know how or why that happened, but it did. And I miss him just a little bit more with each passing year. I sometimes regret that I didn’t have the sort of relationship with him that others had with their fathers – but perhaps I had the one I was meant to have.