Monday, June 7, 2010
I've been thinking about my father a lot lately. I mean, I haven't stopped thinking about him since his death, but lately, I've been remembering him more and more.
My father was 42 when I was born. I was the baby of the family. He had played ball with my brother when he was younger, but he kind of slowed down a little by the time I was growing up. We'd take walks a lot, both in Germany and in Norwood.
In Germany, I remember the excitement of his investigating the rumors of a band of armed men in the woods outside of town. We were walking through the thick pine forest alongside a fenced off area one day, when I noticed a wire going from tree to tree. I pointed it out to him and he immediately noticed that there were camouflaged platforms in the trees. He inspected this encampment from behind the fence and further discovered US Army ration cans left behind in the burnt out camp fire. He gave me the credit for discovering the camp and I would always look upon this incident proudly.
He'd always have great stories to tell about his work for military intelligence and the state of political affairs in the past and present. His career as a military intelligence officer formed his political outlook. He confessed that he was "practically a Communist" when he was in college, but that over the years his opinions and beliefs changed when he saw what was really going on. My father loved America and its history. He was well read on so many subjects. Politics, music, both classical and jazz, history, espionage, biography and economics. He subscribed to so many publications too. The Wilson Quarterly, The Musical Quarterly, Chronicles, The Nature Conservancy Magazine and many political and music publications. His ability to read at break-neck speed was something I always admired! He was very intelligent and could discuss knowledgeably many disparate subjects.
My father always encouraged me in my endeavours. He was one of my biggest fans of my comic routines and films and would always give me words of encouragement when I wasn't happy with the way things were going with my life, which was often. When I was a teenager he often drove me out of state to battle re-enactment events that I participated in when I was a Revolutionary War battle re-enactor. He helped me with my films considerably too. He cheerfully acted in several films of mine and helped me shoot some scenes and drive me to locations. He had a good sense of humor too, though I'd sometimes push his good naturedness with my antics!
My father was always a law and order sort and I take after him on this. In fact, I find that a lot of my beliefs and outlooks on life and society are much like my fathers. He could be very generous with people. When he found a musician that he thought showed promise and was talented he did everything that he could to help them. I'd often hear him on the telephone telling others about this great jazz pianist he came across or someone else and he'd try to get the person's name out there or suggest that a band leader give them a try or a fesitival to book this great band. He wasn't looking for anything in return either. That was just the way he was. He'd get excited by people he met who were like minded on things or were great musicians or just really nice people. He appreciated the kindness of others and the friends he made over the years.
Dad was a good person. He could be gruff or impatient sometimes and could get hurt when criticized or whatever, but he was a very good hearted person. He had strong feelings about politics and society but he tried not to let someone's opposite views effect his friendships.
I miss him so much. I miss his silly sense of humor and our talks about family history and politics. I miss his excitement when we talked about jazz or history. In his last day of life he joked with one of the male nurses who's head was shaved. "Did anyone tell you you look like Kojak?" I hope that I can be that cheerful to make jokes before I die.