Sunday, June 15, 2008

'hap'py father's day

i have a friend who has two beautiful daughters. and when he speaks of them, it's as if he's lit from within. there is a color of light in him only they can make shine.

it is a joy to experience, even vicariously, that particular brand of love. i can't get enough of it, even if, on occasion, it breaks my heart.

i never knew my dad in any real or measurable way. i know some details:

his name was stanley frederick, but everyone called him 'hap' because, as a friend of his wrote, 'he was so goddamn happy all the time.'

he was a born leader, i'm told. had a beautiful voice - sang tenor in his acapella group. he studied philosophy at the university of chicago. he was a beta theta pi.

he was athletic and funny and loved to laugh. he was a good writer. he wasn't afraid to let his voice be heard and always had something nice or positive to say. he looked out for friends and took good care of strangers and made them his friends.

he loved music. and hunting. he loved his little town. he loved his dad. and his wife. and his baby girl.

he died when i was forty days old ... killed in the vietnam war. (which is why it sickens me that there is new generation of children who will learn to say, 'my dad died in the {fill in the blank} war.')

i have his cheekbones. and his eyes. i have his smile, his small hands, small feet. i have his 'bubble butt.' i hope i have his kindness and his generosity and his spirit, too. and i wish i had him here. even if only for the day.

i'd ask him to sing something. and tell me a story. and then we would just sit on the steps leading to the beach and watch the stray cats come close and enjoy the smell of the ocean and the closeness and the late light from the afternoon sun.

it would be enough just to see my eyes looking back at me and my tiny hand in his ... and the color of light in him that only i can make shine.


BizyLizy said...

So touching, Moon.

We never forget our fathers. If we've had them for a while, and lost them, it resonates a deep longing in the heart of any little girl.

I don't know how you believe spiritually, but it is nice to think that your father is still with you today.

He left a part of himself with you, that much is obvious. The compassion that glows from your writing, and your incredible writing itself. They way you touch others, without having to be physically present. A gift to you, I'm sure, from your father.

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