Friday, June 30, 2017

The Man of the Hour is Taking His Final Bow

Someone once belittled this song as being from Pearl Jam's "Daddy Issues" period. Me thinks the critic doth protest too much. We all have to come to terms with who our Fathers are. Mine ran off on my Mom us when I was five, was an alcoholic, then a convict, then finally a recovering alcoholic. He was shot and killed in 1987 by my stepmother - ironically the one he left my Mom for. It tore our family apart. 

For all his flaws and failings, I loved my Dad, though. But for most of my life, I stayed at arm's length. Dad tried to close the gap one summer when I worked for him setting foundations and laying brick. Dad even tried to apologize to me for his colorful past in front of an AA meeting. The gesture meant a lot to me. A former rodeo cowboy and fisherman, Dad was something of a character. People liked him. And like a lot of colorful characters, Dad died too young.

I'm not a big Pearl Jam fan, but this song speaks to me. I heard it first during the credits to the film Big Fish which was a film about a son with father issues and how he resolved them by accepting his Dad as he was. I think I may have closed the gap with my own sons, though maybe not as well as I would have liked. It was just in time with the middle boy. He died at age 28 and I failed to revive him. Fathers should not outlive their sons. I hope we got everything said between us. For some reasons our last few weeks together were a series of heart-to-heart talks. I miss him. The eldest is also far away so that we have to communicate in writing.

Daughters are another matter for fathers. My own daughter is more comfortable around me to say the least. She is all prepared to take over bossing me around if my wife ever falls down on the job. She calls a couple of times a year to give me a lecture. I was actually hoping my grandkids would like me, but I fear my branch of the King genetic line is fixing to become extinct. And I was already ready for them too.

Here's Pearl Jam with "Man of the Hour".

Happy belated Father's Day to anyone I missed.  Hug your kids. They need you whether they know it or not.


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