Thursday, February 18, 2010

A purely personal post























Today is the sixth anniversary of my father's death. That's him in the photo, taken circa 1950. He was a complicated man: very smart, self-indulgent, contrary, cruel and soft-hearted by turns. He liked Pink Floyd, Johnny Walker, Alison Krauss, hot weather, Bloody Marys, rare beef, and butter pecan ice cream--not necessarily in that order. He knew his way around a pool table, and his best friend for the last years of his life was an awesomely fat golden retriever named Rufus. I'm tempted to say I remember him the way Irving Feldman remembers his father, but in reality I have a lot more in common with Sharon Olds. And honestly, I like it that way. Sweet sentiments have their place, but when it comes to memories I prefer mine messy and complicated. Makes life more interesting. My father taught me that.

11 comments:

Lynn said...

Maria,
I appreciate your clear eyed view of your father--as a flawed man. An unsentimental and not judgemental or angry post. Thank you for showing us how to do it.
another wiht a complicated fther.
lynn p

Julie H. Rose said...

The list of your father's "likes" is most evocative.

Your terseness always impresses me!

Lee said...

Awesome photo. And real memories too.

Olfacta said...

I know what you mean. I guess one never stops trying to figure it all out.

Bozo said...

He certainly had a smart daughter.

chayaruchama said...

Ah, my dear.
Fathers.....

I'm with you.

Not to sound callous, by any means-
But I believe that the distance, and time factors- tend to help with the sense of clarity.

It is dreadfully difficult to be clear about those 'larger than life' figures up close.

(((((( Maria )))))

Love you, and your fine heart and mind.

The Left Coast Nose said...

"Sweet sentiments have their place, but when it comes to memories I prefer mine messy and complicated."

Maybe I didn't know up until the moment I read that that I've always had a craving for a simple feeling for my father. Which is not what I have. But the thought that wanting it to be complicated is a new one to me, and maybe with that something might shift.

Thank you for the Sharon Olds poem- wow!! She is just so good...

BitterGrace said...

Hmm, I dithered about even posting this, but now I'm glad I did. The cultural pressure is all toward resolving our complicated feelings about family, but I'm more in favor of honoring all that cannot be resolved.

Alyssa said...

I love this.

But Sharon Olds -- I have mixed feelings about her. Mostly because of one spectacularly and wholly unintentionally funny reading I attended. Remind me to tell you someday...

Anyway. Without complicated feelings about fathers most of classic Western literature wouldn't exist. I'm glad you can cherish and value yours, Maria--the father and the feelings.

BitterGrace said...

Thank you, Alyssa--and I'll remind you at regular intervals to tell me about the reading. Sounds like a story I need to hear.

Julie H. Rose said...

I like what you wrote - ". . .honoring all that cannot be resolved."

I think it's a dangerous mythology that we can resolve everything, and that time heals all wounds. Wounds and scars are marks of our humanity. Time may indeed heal, but it only softens, and that is fine with me.