Happy Father’s Day, Dad

Hi Dad

I found these in my camera roll this morning. They’re pictures of pictures, obviously, taken at the family reunion back in September. I’d never seen these photos before, and meant to ask you about them, but got distracted by the heart attack you had on Christmas night. Now that you’re recovered, I’m curious…

Were you a juvenile delinquent at some point? A gang member? A Jet or a Shark? You look like you’re headed to a rumble. What were you, fifteen? Sixteen? I’ve never seen you channel James Dean before, and I’m curious to know where you were going when this was taken. And whether or not you were arrested.

By way of contrast, who is this respectable 20-year-old in a suit and tie? Where is he going? A date, I presume. But with whom? You hadn’t met mom yet, and I realize now how little I know about your dating history, pre-Peggy. Please call me to discuss offline. I have many questions on this topic. Also, why do you look so tall in this photo?

Moving forward fifteen years or so…

What’s the deal with the red car? Had you just purchased it? I don’t remember you ever owning this particular automobile, so I guess it could be a random vehicle, but it sure looks like you were posing in front of it. I do remember that plaid shirt, but I don’t recall you walking around with a pen very often, which again, makes me think you had just signed a check, or perhaps a vehicle registration form? Also, what’s in your other pocket? Given your sideburns, this photo was probably taken in the late seventies, back when you were smoking a pipe. Could it be a pouch of that tobacco you used to carry around? Borkum Riff, I think it was called? I remember it made bluish smoke and smelled like burnt leather. You used to smoke it in the living room while reading The News American. Once, I saw you blow a big smoke ring, and then shoot some smaller rings through it. I thought that was pretty cool, but then mom made you quit because, you know, cancer. Probably a good call.

Now, regarding the photo of you and your brothers and sisters. That was at Nelson’s farm, right? What’s up with those socks? Argyle? Really? I must confess, I’ve never paid much attention to hosiery – yours in particular – but it seems like I would have remembered argyle socks, especially when combined with tennis shoes. And Nikes, no less! How did mom let you out of the house wearing tennis shoes and argyle socks? Hard to believe she didn’t step in to thwart such a sartorial faux pas. On the other hand, perhaps she was distracted by Nelson’s short shorts?

I do have a few other questions, but no time to pose them. I need to write a Foreword for Mom’s next book, and the publisher needs it tonight. But I’d like to catch up later today, if your schedule permits. I’d call you right now, but I know you’re in church at the moment, counting your blessings, etc. Rest assured, I’m counting mine as well, and wanted to say that you’ve made the list, again.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.
Love ‘ya.

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