Happy Father’s Day

Dad –

Remember a few years back, when you and mom came to The Lyric to see me do that one man show? (You were sitting in the first box, stage left? I was the guy in the spotlight, sharing a few “tales from the dirt” to a sold-out house?)

Toward the end of the evening, I took some questions from the audience, and somebody asked me about my “big break.” They wanted to know how I had wound up back on the same stage where I used to sing with the Baltimore Opera, thirty years before.

I was flattered by the question and answered it with a story about the time my high school music teacher, Fred King, insisted I audition for the lead role in Oklahoma, way back in 1980. I got the part, as you might recall, and that experience, I explained, was my first big break. The big break that gave me a new level of confidence. The kind of confidence that allowed me to audition for lots of other things, including a spot in The Baltimore Opera, where my career in show business got started. A career that, on that particular evening, had come full circle.

Anyway, I was just sitting here at my kitchen table, sipping coffee and watching the fog blow across the bay, when the digital picture frame I keep on the counter, (the same one I sent you and mom last year that you still haven’t hooked up), landed on this photo. (That’s me on the left, rocking a double-breasted blazer and John Lennon haircut, and that’s you standing next to me, with your arm around my shoulder, looking very much like the 44-year old social studies you once were.) I’m guessing it was Easter, (1974?) and we were on the way to church, and mom wanted proof. So, she told us to stand in front of the old peachtree and smile, which we did, sort of.

That old photo made me wish I’d given a better answer that night at The Lyric Opera House. A more truthful answer. What I should have said was, “My big break came when that guy over there in the stage-left box, proposed to the woman sitting alongside him, and then persuaded her to start having babies. I was the first to arrive, and ever since, John Rowe has had an arm around my shoulder – guiding me, encouraging me, watching me, and cheering me on. He was my first big break, and in this great lottery called life, he was the best dad anyone could ever have. In fact, he still is.”

Happy Father’s Day.
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