Father’s Day-My Father Myself

Father’s Day….. every few minutes a new post seems to pop up on Facebook or WordPress. Lovely reminiscences about fathers that are no longer here, fathers who played major roles in the lives of their children, fathers whose children are estranged from them.

My father was a complicated man; loving on one side, the other side a short fuse with a temper. Giving, but don’t cross him or his vindictive nature would come out. He could cut people off and out of his life. I share many of his traits, and often wonder if it is learned behavior or genetics, or a combination of both. He and I  became estranged for almost 14 years through my 30’s & 40’s. His doing, not mine. A new wife, a different life, his ego all contributing factors. I was glad I was old enough to understand the whys, and glad that while I was growing up he had always been there for me. I needed him less as an adult. We reconciled 4 years before he died when I found out he was sick. I thanked him before he died for playing such an instrumental part in my becoming who I was as an adult. The many good qualities I had that I knew came from his teaching.

He grew up poor with an alcoholic father and no education past high school, but succeeded in rising above it and away from it, following the lead of people willing to help him, observing people, paying attention to how they got to where they got to, and reaching those heights himself because of it. Did he have a darker side, yes, but I am happy to remember what was so wonderful about him, and understand where the darkness came from and why it was a part of him and accept it.

One of my earliest memories (I was 5) is of us going bird watching together. He was an avid bird watcher and part of a club. We would leave the house before daybreak, and meet his birding group. I remember spotting a Snowy Owl once- a major sighting! My love of nature and birds stems from those early morning trips.

He loved music and loved to sing. He had hoped to become a professional singer in his early 20’s, but real life came along and he needed to be able to make a living. His love for music was infused throughout our home-he always sang to us and for us, he played the banjo- old folk songs with verses we could all join in on.

My father recorded a few songs in a studio when he was thinking he could turn his singing into a career. The recordings were on 78 rpm records. Shortly before he died I was able to have the recordings converted to CD. I remembered hearing the recordings as a child, but had literally not heard them in 45 years. At the sound of the first note of him singing, what a rush of emotion- music or a song can always take you back to another place and time- but to hear his voice! What a gift to be able to hear that beautiful voice again.

His favorite poem was Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken.

He read it to me many times, and always reminded me of the importance the following lines held for him.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

I am thankful to have had a father that understood me, helped me to grow as a person, and who lives within in me. I feel my ability to be a good listener, to search for deeper meaning in things, comes from him. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to tell him those things before he died. I made the following photo montage with one of his recordings playing in the background, if you’d like to take a listen.

 

 

 

 

 

21 thoughts on “Father’s Day-My Father Myself

  1. This was a lovely voice your father had! It is reminiscent of both Robert Goulet and Frank Sinatra. He truly had a light way with his voice, singing the words with emotion yet bouncy, too.
    You were blessed with a man who revealed his true self to you, Lisa. I felt my Dad was flawed sometimes “cranky,” but later I realized he felt stressed and under pressure in a high tech job. He also rise above his past and showed tenderness and true interest as your Dad did in you and your brother.
    Your hiking with him with the birding club and spying the snowy owl are perfect memories. As was his playing banjo and sing-along songs with his family. I’m sure he was very proud of you, Lisa. 💕

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      • I have read a few posts about your childhood and you are like me, realistic yet very grateful for the love displayed and gifts our parents passed on to us. I was a Daddy’s girl, which I’m not sure if you used those words but it seems like you were the apple of your Dad’s eye. ❤

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      • Yes Robin- I too was Daddy’s girl- he made us all feel special but I was the oldest, the first and I know that always meant something special to him

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  2. I’ve been quickly passing by the social media tributes today – I, too, had a “challenging” relationship with my dad – and like you, I recognize some of his traits in me. Some are good, some, not so much. Your title drew me in to read. And I’m glad that I did.

    Thank you for sharing the tribute video: a labour of love, plain and simple. He had an amazing voice.

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  3. That was just beautiful. I think he could have been a professional singer…what a great voice, and what a treat! Thank you for sharing him with us. I’m glad you have the music to keep forever.

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  4. As I read posts about Fathers, I think of mine. He taught me to be afraid in the first years of my life yet I thought I loved him. I realize now it was a love/ hate situation. I now can forgive him. He was out of my life since the 40s. I don’t know much about his later life. I seldom think about Father’ Day.

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    • We each have a story/history to tell with our fathers and mothers I have learned as I have grown older. The “perfect” family unit often does not exist, making peace with whatever our situation was and acceptance is the best route I believe.

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      • I agree that the perfect family of church going parents and a bit and girl forgot exist. We were lucky as there were grown ups that cared. My Mother was an exceptional woman how she managed to get herself and 5 of children out of domestic abuse situation in the 30s, I will never know. She had to leave her oldest son with his father.

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      • He lived with his Dad until our Father wanted to married again. Than he was sent home. The close relationship we had as children was broken. We were both present at the time, I
        wonder now if we were kept apart on purpose. He was married twice and had 4 children. He has been dead a long time.
        Our Father second marriage he had 2 girls.

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      • At one time I decided to put my trust in God as the my relatives did what was normal for the time. You know I was able to forgive everyone. That was a great experience for me.

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