I often share overly personal information about my family on Mostly Teachable, but neglect to share some of the honest to goodness details of my happy life here in the wilds of Southern Michigan. This year I plan to post my photo collection from each Week That Was. To kick off 2013, I thought I’d go back into my vault and share some of what turned out be a really nice 2012. Here are some of the pictures from the last 12 months:
Most humans are the descendants of other people. Not all humans. Some obviously came from torrid relationships between cans of mushroom soup and turkey basters. I have a father. One in fact, who turned 64 years old on Wednesday. I can’t even imagine that my old man is that…old. I still picture him as a 30-year-old, 135 pound dynamo of stubborn will. A little bald-headed dervish hopping fences and chasing down neighborhood kids who’d stomped his flowers. He looks about the same, save for a few more worry lines and the changes in his eyes. As long as Dad’s grinning with his weird, toothy smile, I figure he’s alright. Dad’s on his own planet and I tell people he might outlive us all. He might.
Dad was left blind by Scarlet Fever at 12 days old. I only bring this up because it forms starting blocks in his life from which he sprinted away. If there is one thing that I take from Dad’s life it is to get up each day and make a living no matter what. He worked within the limitations of his disabilities and did what he had to do. There is almost a sense of shrug with my father when it comes to accomplishing tasks. He just wills himself to do them and completes the tasks. At 18, he somehow got drafted into the service and took a bus across Michigan to the induction center in Detroit. Obviously Dad was 4F, but he lived up to his responsibility. After marrying my mom, dad inexplicably got into photography school and graduated. He ended up working at an ad agency. Looking at his portfolio over the years, I see that he obviously had talent and worked with the faculties that were at his disposal. In order to make a living, however, he ended up down other career paths. Dad just worked at whatever supported the family. In fact, he still does. Like his own father, Dad has a unique sense of doing the things that interest him and exploring whatever creative outlet sparks his interest at the moment. Like many extraordinarily grandiose men, Dad and Grandpa tended to lead lives of acceptable ordinariness. They dreamed in visions tempered by the white-hot fires of need and immediacy. I don’t hold it against them, but in fact see things their way. I dream and I pine for all that could be, all that might be. In the end, however, caring for my family comes first. So, I appreciate my dad for himself, but also for raising us to know the difference between want and need, right and right now. I’ll take him out for a burger tomorrow and at some point he’ll get that weird smile on his face. It’s his planet to dream and scheme on, and the rest of us are just living here.