Today is approximately the 20th anniversary of the death of my father. Seems odd to think he has been dead for two decades. But the thought gave me a spur to write something about the man and what he was to my life.
To state the case simply life with my dad was not an easy haul. Not easy because he was a difficult man in many respects. Very talented and very smart and very different from me. I was much more like my mother, which wasn’t always a good thing. But this screed is not about her.
He was a temperamental guy, given to huge rages at the drop of a hat. My brother and I have often referred to the fact that while other kids in the neighborhood delighted at the arrival of ‘Daddy’ home from work; we by-and-large dreaded his arrival because we feared we would be in shit from some transgression or other. That wasn’t old Ward Cleaver or Andy Taylor parking the car in the driveway.
Now, he was a bright man and extraordinarily successful considering he was only a high school grad. Due to his perspicacity and recognition of his considerable talents by those higher up he evolved in the world of technical academia and by the time of his retirement had become a community college dean. Pretty darn admirable and his success showed his dedication to hard work. Of course when I was a young kid I did not recognize those aspects of him, I only was left with a brooding resentment of a guy who seemed for the most part to be a bit of a prick.
While he was all tech and mathematics I was artsy-fartsy and dealt in realms miles from his interests.
As time went on I became less intimidated by his rages and oddly in a way our relationship improved in incremental ways. I never knew if he appreciated what I did, but I came to increasingly appreciate what he did, and to also appreciate his company. Ironically, after his death, my Aunt Freda (Dad’s beloved baby sister) told me that the old bastard had clipped and saved every newspaper column I had written. “If only he had told me that,” I said to her, “it would have meant so much to me.” But, alas, telling me would not have been who he was. In retrospect I kind of respect that.
There is more, much more, but on this the two-decade anniversary of his death all I can say is that every day I miss you a little more, you cranky old bugger.