. . . but the Spawn is still in Terpville, where she and the Main Squeeze are visiting MS’s folks. And that’s okay — I’ve already received an HFD text and will have a Discord chat with her this evening, and Mrs. M and I will be heading up to see her in less than a month.
One of the odd things about fatherhood, I think, doesn’t really happen until your own parents are gone. Suddenly, you’ve become The Old Man in your line, something like a patriarch, the repository of whatever paternal wisdom is available. In this case, God help the Spawn. But as I said on Twitter and the Book of Faces this morning, whatever good I have been and continue to be as a dad, I learned from mine, incomplete as my learning may be.
I’ve noted before that my dad was a lot of things over the years. He saw himself as whatever was necessary to get the job done. And he was right, whether it was serving as Mayor (and occasional city janitor) of Union, KY, swapping out the transmission on a buddy of mine’s car, refurbishing a houseboat, or becoming one of the very first Certified Information Systems Security Professionals in 1994 or so. He also played (and built) guitars, banjos, and other stringed instruments, and was a sufficiently skilled hand drummer to have earned an ovation at his high school talent show (where he also earned the debate medal.)
But the thing he most wanted to be was an artist, and he was for much of his life, even as he did all these other things. I think he saw himself that way internally, although it also frustrated him because he didn’t ever think he was as good as he wanted to be. He painted on a regular basis into the 1970s, but basically stopped that after we moved to Northern Kentucky and after Mom was diagnosed with MS in Fall of 1978. Depression runs in my family, and I honestly think that was a factor as well, although it wasn’t ultimately diagnosed until a few years before he died, around the time of my brother’s first criminal trial. Whatever the case, he essentially stopped painting after we moved north, confining his art to woodworking and luthiery.
But today, I thought I’d share some of the paintings and drawings he did. The first one is the one that appears in From Sea to Stormy Sea, the anthology that contains my story about fathers and sons.
Wherever you are, I hope you have a Happy Father’s Day.
See you soon.