Saturday, June 17, 2017

Father of Gump (what would my father think of me)

One of the things that I think about occasionally is what my father would have thought about how my life turned out.

For those who don't know: My father died in a semi-trailer accident in 1984, at the age of forty-two. He died while I was in Army boot camp. His death is the official reason that the US Army and I parted paths--because the Army thought that I was needed more back home (I am the oldest of eight kids). That idea did not pan out because my mom did not want me to return home (she was worried that I would affect her survivor benefits from Social Security)--which is probably a good thing considering how "evil" my life turned out to be (to her dying day, my mother would call me a Satanist...which I am not).

So basically, my father never saw any of my adult life.

Sometimes I believe that I would have been more successful if he would have lived longer. He was always the encouraging one. But I will admit that occasionally, he was ignorant of what direction I was headed. For instance, he was unaware of my desire to be a writer clear up to the end of my senior year in high school.

So I would like to believe that I would quit working food service sooner, that I would have went to college sooner, that I would have gotten treatment for my bipolar sooner, and that I would be more successful in my writing career--because of his encouragement.

Or maybe one of my sisters is right, and he would have completely disapproved of my life, and thought that I needed to taken down a peg or two.

Who f***ing knows.

What I do know is that he affected my politics, my approach to community service, my philosophy,  and how I tell stories.

I spent a lot of time with my father on various jobs. We remodeled houses together, worked on construction sites together (once spent the entire summer camping out on one job site out in the woods of Albert County), took me along to deliver produce to various customers (he actually was training me to take over the family produce company*), introduced me to farming and to the hobby of gardening. He also made sure that I was surrounded by books, and he tutored me and my sister to count change in our heads.

[*My sister likes to point out that the only reason that he was training me was that she wasn't old enough yet, and that he meant for her to take over the family business...which ironically, would have been totally acceptable to me--because I actually wanted to be a writer. This sister also points out that my writing totally s***s and that I will never be successful doing it as a career--she might have a point, but I am a crazy person and generally ignore her advice on that front.]

My father was the first comedian and story teller that I knew. In all fairness, many of his jokes were about Polish people....and I know that it is wrong that they still bring a smile to my face. And he told the same jokes over and over again--because each new job site or customer was a brand new audience. As a result of this, my first lessons in writing and revision came from my father.

We used to listen to talk show radio a lot. And he would argue back at the radio, "Well, that is not going to work out..." Plus him and Mom once campaigned for a candidate running for District Attorney here in Denver. So my getting up on a soapbox and sharing my political opinions would not have been foreign to him. And the rate I upset people, not a surprise at all--he often remarked that I would have been shot by the age of ten if I would have been born in Russia.

(He might have been surprised that I am still registered as a Republican--my mom insisted that all her kids had to be Republicans--hell, she would have demanded that I voted for Trump...except that her threat of disowning me for voting for the wrong person would have carried no weight because I was already disowned for being a Satanic witch.)

My interest in magic and the occult definitely would not have been a surprise--after all, he also sat at the table talking about Wicca and witchcraft with my aunt. He might have been surprised that I ended up in the pagan clergy category--or maybe not. After all, he had a touch of ESP (predicted the unification of Germany at a time that no one thought that it was possible).

I tend to think about him when I am gardening. Dad was the one who taught me how to compost, and stuff like that. He grew vegetables--which given that there was eight of his kids, and we were poor, made a lot of sense. I am not sure what he would have thought of my growing herbs, but I am sure that he would have understood my point that herbs are damn expensive at the store.

My deepest regret is that he never read any of my writing. When he was alive, I had to conceal my writing habit from my mom, who believed that writing was a sin. I was good at hiding what I was really up to. I especially regret that he did not live long enough to meet my wife, and read what I am currently working on--in fact, one of the characters in my Ancient Egyptian stories is partially based on him.

Still what can you do? Just fondly remember the man, and hope that he would have approved of where i am headed with my work. Happy Father's Day Dad--I miss you.

Happy Father's Day!

1 comment:

Imperator David Griffin said...

Beautiful message. Happy Fathers' Day.