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One Sunday. - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
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One Sunday.
As I've noted on this date in the past- as recently as this time last year- I find it a little hard responding to a social media world full of fathers today. Fathers now present and adding to memories; fathers now parted and those memories even more precious.

I don't have that. Never did beyond a handful of special occasions. Most of my paternal-parental experiences are ones I learned from and determined not to repeat with our own child.

On the radio driving into church this morning, a sports show host was interviewing Billy Crystal, whose 700 Sundays memoir (which I just reread, about a month ago) has been turned into a stage production, now filmed and in regular rotation on HBO.  The title refers to the number of Sundays Billy got to spend with his dad before his sudden and untimely death when the son was 13.  Although I haven't seen the play either live or on the Box (and online "resources" to find it came up sadly deficient today), I do know from the book that Billy treasured almost all of those weekly occasions. Whether they were spent in amazing musical settings in Manhattan, or in the caverns of Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, or just at the humble family home in Long Beach, Long Island, Dad made the most of the Sundays God gave them to spend together.

My father died when I was a few months past 26, twice as long as Billy had with his, so on paper I should have about 1,400 Sundays to choose from for fond memories.  Best count I can up with might be ten.  There were doubtless some Sundays at Shea Stadium, the one lifelong love I attribute to the man.  For a brief time, he helped "advise" our Sunday night church youth group (the "advice" basically consisting of keeping us out of trouble and the church from being burned down), so there may have been a few finer times there when he was at least "there." There were countless family dinners on Sunday, usually at my sister Sandy's house, and while I treasure those moments with her (gone, now, almost as long as he is) and her husband and kids, there was nothing special I can ever remember him adding to the conversation or the moments together; he sat in his chair and smoked, until he stopped the latter after a 1978 heart attack.

I'd hoped to watch 700 Sundays tonight, to borrow the happier memories from a better man accrued over a shorter time- and felt some frustration about not being able to find the film without acquiring a full HBO subscription. But Eleanor said the right thing in response to that: the only Father's Day memories you need are the ones of the father you have been- and you've been a great one.

I needed that- and also needed the call from the child that just came within the past few minutes. She and Cameron are doing much better after a rough patch a couple nights ago, and she sounds okay, and even hopeful about how things are going to go.  My Dad was never big on hope; if anyone could be counted on to always look on the dark side of life, he could.

Emily and I have now had something like 1,100 Sundays as dad and daughter- most of them together, few especially memorable, but collectively among the most special moments of my life. But the most important one of the bunch is the one we have today- not because it's Father's Day, but because she's in good health, surrounded by a loving family, and has a lifetime of promise ahead of her.

Best of all? Next Sunday, we get another one:)
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ellettra From: ellettra Date: June 16th, 2014 08:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
You are an EXCELLENT father, and Eleanor said it perfectly. xo
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