Thursday, June 12, 2008

Selah

Today is the ninth anniversary of my dad’s passing. I didn’t write about it here last year, and I could’ve saved this post for next year and a nice round number, but for some reason (maybe that I’m a parent now too?), I’m feeling it somewhat keenly this year, so allow me, willya?

My dad was like nobody else, man. I’m not even going to go into it, but to illustrate: A few years ago, after a Howard Dean rally, I cornered keynote speaker and Dad’s Harvard classmate Peter Coyote and thanked him for being part of this movement (which I suspected the old man would’ve really gotten behind, incidentally), and asked him if he remembered [Dad’s name], from back in the day. Pete Coyote -- a guy who has met so many freaks and crazies in his life, so many rockstars and giants and lone gunmen and Hell’s Angels and politicians – he recognized the un-famous name instantly, said “Oh yeah – a real bandito! Are you his daughter?” and talked with me about him for a few minutes before someone else got hold of him. You wouldn’t get that with just any schmo.

There was something of Allie Fox in my dad, of Hunter S. Thompson, of Bob Dylan and Jack Kerouac and Jimmy frickin Hoffa; he was a patron to hardworking people like himself, a crusader for what he saw as Right and True, a deeply, deeply sexist person who nonetheless raised his daughters to fear nothing and nobody. He was an alcoholic, a smoker, a conflicted Christian, a believer both in The Rules and in his personal right to break every single one of them with a fucking sledgehammer. Prideful, epically stubborn, judgmental (apple don’t fall far from the tree, do it?), sometimes megalomaniacal, with a wingspan that could cover most of humanity if he wanted to – far from a perfect person, flawed and damaged, but a loving and fiercely loyal soul, he opened up the world for me and was, as he always put it, “my biggest fan.”

There are things I’m still mad at him for, and things that make me miss the hell out of him; I hate that he never got to meet his granddaughter, but I probably wouldn’t have let him drive with her in the car (between the drinking and the scorning of seatbelts in general and carseats in particular as nanny-state tools of The Man which are going to make a generation of pussies out of our children … oh, I can hear it now …).

But as my friend Tom the Drummer says: “Here’s to ‘im.” Miss you, dad. Wish you were here.

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5 Comments:

Blogger HHL said...

perfectly expressed. thanks.

12:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My dad, who I lost almost a year ago, and your dad would have gotten along famously. Thanks for posting this.

1:20 PM  
Blogger Twelve said...

Oh Glee, I am sorry. But what a wonderful post. This is the kind of tribute that can't be bought.

I only met your dad once, at your wedding, but I still remember the moment well. I love Pete Coyote's use of "bandito" to describe him.

You sure write good. Maybe you should do it for a living.

2:04 PM  
Blogger Gleemonex said...

Thanks, y'all -- debated posting this, but you gotta write what come to ya.

11:25 AM  
Blogger bgirl said...

Even imperfection itself may have its ideal.

Really touching post, Glee.

10:23 AM  

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