Another Father’s Day is here. My Father passed away fifty-one years ago. Dad was age forty-nine when he passed, so he has now been dead longer than he was alive. His body may have died, but my Father is very much alive.
When I look into the mirror to shave, I see Dad staring out. I used to watch him shave in the mornings when I was a kid. Oh, I wanted to have a beard and be a grown man. After sixty years of shaving, my beard could fall out, and I would not miss it.
I recall watching him start on the left side of his face, then across his upper lip to the right sideburn. He would finish with his neck again, moving from the left to the right. The finale was using his left hand to feel and see if he missed any spots.
Guess how I shave?
We are often our Fathers in more ways than in posture and gestures. We watch our Fathers closely, and without them realizing the lessons they give us, they shape us for life. I learned my dry humor from my Dad. I also learned how not to let people get close. I learned wonderful lessons from Dad and others that were not such ideal things to know.
My Dad was from another generation where men did not let their emotions show. Dad was not effusive with his praise, but I knew he loved me. I knew from his actions. I knew from his protecting me. I knew from his pride in me.
He was from the school that the man of the house is the undisputed king. My Mother didn’t subscribe to this theory, which made for some exciting times at our home. They used to have pitched battles. My Dad would tell me it would all be OK, but I knew better. That didn’t make my Father dishonest. It made him my Dad. He was trying to protect me from his marital ugliness.
He was my protector. I knew if something bad were to come to me, my Father would be my champion. Things do happen to kids that need parental intervention. I had a teacher who was fond of throwing sharpened pencils at students who didn’t behave in class. I was Mr. Friendly in fifth grade. The teacher threw a Ticonderoga Number 2, with a freshly honed point at me one day.
The pencil stuck in my cheek just below my right eye. My Father saw my wound, and he paid a visit to the school the next day. Dad was a friendly man, but…