Shiny Metal Tiger

Experiences in Baltimore, MD

In nomine patris

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I must admit that I had never considered making a blog post for Father’s Day. I’ve never been very interested in these official pseudo-Holidays, and never much of a sentimental either. But as of yesterday (what opportune timing), my new stance on Father’s (and Mother’s) Day is: why not?

I’m sure not every single father or mother in the world is worth celebrating. But many certainly are, mine included. And then who cares if it seems tacky to have a day dedicated to the fact?

Dad: Teaching manhood by example

Some of my fondest memories from childhood are from when my mom would be out of town on business. On such occasions, dad and I would have a feast, inevitably consisting of: Steak, hash browns, freshly baked bread and a bowl of iceberg, cucumber, tomatoes and red pepper. Having sampled the cuisines of the world, this is still pretty much the best meal I can imagine.

Bellies full, we’d usually head to Blockbuster. I can only imagine how many awful movies he had to suffer through for my sake, though he did manage to sneak in a few classics. Later on we’d play chess (at which I managed to best him in San Sebastian around age 14) or go (which he’s still better at), which I’m sure must have been rather more stimulating for him.

So many other memories. Him carefully tending his roses in the garden, and eventually inducing them to grow all over my impenetrable fortress of interwoven branches in the garden (which he’d helped build). Barbecue ribs on the terrace, with his special hoisin-honey sauce (and the seagulls that would swoop down on the meat and occasionally smash  a bowl). Him telling “mouth stories” instead of reading from a book when I was wee (I’ve later discovered that most of these were stolen from Kurosawa movies). The series of rather improper gifts (bank robber style ski mask, leather jacket, nunchucks, knife, all before age 10) that I somehow never regarded as toys.

More than anything, though, I’m thankful for the expert way in which he (they, but this is his day) managed to raise me. Whether by accident or design, he managed to do things just right to make sure I never ended up smoking, slacking off, looking down on people, getting in fights, or even having much of a teenage rebellion. Instead of getting tattoos, I listened to the Stones; instead of doing drugs, I read Philip K. Dick. He didn’t tell me what to do, just silently approved or disapproved, which was a far stronger motivator. He didn’t tell me how to do well in life, he just did right and let me watch. The best thing about this way of instruction is that it’s still working. I’m still growing into a better man all the time, and it’s all because I was pointed in the right direction.

I love you dad.


Written by Martin

2010/06/20 at 22:46

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. What a nice entry about your Dad. I think he will be very touched just like I am.


    2010/06/21 at 12:22

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