Dad Wept…


Call it one of my blind spots (of which I have a few)… but I am not a fan of Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or Valentine’s Day.  Maybe it’s just the Grumpy in me, but it’s the artificial constructs of these celebration days that give me nausea and anxiety.  For my part, take all the candy, flowers and Hallmark cards and dump them into a landfill.  Why do I need a designated day to remind me that I am a father?  And at one time, a son?  And on “Father’s Day”, how much fun is it to be straddling two chairs?  Being both a son and a father? It was a joy being a son (and a grandson), and just as much a joy being a father (and a grandfather)… I just don’t need a specified day to honor the occasion.

I think my ambivalence about these special days, trace back to one Mother’s Day when I was in my mid-teens.  Dad decided that he wanted to visit the cemetery, and Mom said that I should go along.  I didn’t want to.  My thinking:  Mother’s Day was about Mom (who was here and breathing), and that’s who we should be honoring – why was Dad confusing the issue?

Reluctantly I went with Dad to East Haven to where Bubbie rested.  We walked to her grave site.  For the visit Dad brought a small flat of pansies and a trowel.  He picked a place near the headstone, dug a small aperture in the ground, planted the pansies, and then took his hands to replace the earth around the small flowers.

The gardening done, he stood up and looked at the monument, then looked down.  Not a word spoken.  Thoughts collected silently. When he looked up, tears traced down his cheeks.  Then a masked sob, a brief sniffle.  And nothing more shared.

This entry was posted in The Small Pictures. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Dad Wept…

  1. Philip M Ketover says:

    Grumpy Jimmy?(well that was what I called you back then-Jimmy)I suppose if someone wanted to take me to a cemetery on Mother’s Day I would be grumpy too but then again I was grumpy in general. You on the other hand was the nicest kid I ever had as a friend. How long ago? To paraphrase Lincoln around 2 score and 18 years. I was the kid one block down Alston at the corner of Edgewood. Strange as it seems I actually loved Hamden Hall and New Haven and it was at least for me a great pity that no sooner than I was moved down here from Boston my parents decided it was a mistake and decided to move back.At least they granted me one year. I would have much enjoyed staying put. Meanwhile now that I am shall we say retired more or less I have had plenty of time to rummage around online media and just like that came across an old friend. I certainly hope all is well with you and yours and stays that way. BTW-As a student of history(Mr Brook found that out fast enough) this blog of yours is simply a joy. Some of that history I saw first hand. Meanwhile I am not here to barge into your life but just to say hello old friend and continue to live long and prosper-Phil

    • Jim says:

      Great to hear from you Phil… and well I remember you (and your poodle Hercules, or Herkie for short)! I also remember that you were sitting on the Liggetts’ lunch counter with me and Paul Tsiotis (I don’t think Gary Moss was with us that day) on the Friday JFK was assassinated. We heard the news over the radio station that was on air. I hope that you are doing well Phil! This is my email if you want to continue to “visit”:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *