Despite the fact that I was a young pacifist when I was growing up, I took great pride in the fact that my father could beat up all of the other fathers on the block. I suppose this stems from a child’s need to feel protected and in this area my dad excelled.
My parents met while serving in the United States Marine Corps when they were both very young.
They used to meet one another on ‘their bridge’ at MCAS Cherry Point, NC where my dad was taken in by my mom’s big hazel eyes and sweet nature and she by his good looks and bad boy charm. One thing led to another, they got married, were subsequently honorably discharged and moved to the big city…New York!
My mom says she spent the first few years looking up because she couldn’t believe how tall the buildings were. They didn’t have them that big back in Ohio or West Virginia. I must admit that when I first moved to NYC I did the same exact thing. Although the adjustment was a tad difficult for my mom she had my dad beside her. She was safe, protected and loved. As I said before, dad does this well.
My first strong memory of this came when I was a boy. I am not sure how old I was but I remember that I was lying down on the living room floor with a pillow, watching TV. My teeth were bothering me and I was miserable. At some point my dad came over and put his leather jacket over me. It felt very large and covered my whole body. It smelled like my dad, was very warm and instantly I felt better. I felt safe, taken care of and loved with that one small gesture.
I fell asleep right there with my parent’s voices quietly resonating behind me.
Another vivid memory of peaceful contentment took place in our old station wagon. The family was coming home from some kind of gathering. We were all tired and it was getting dark outside so I lay down on the front seat between my parents. This was in the ‘good ol’ days’ before child seats and seat belt safety laws. I had my head on my dad’s lap and I could see the lights on the dashboard and the steering wheel moving with a steady rhythm to match the contours of the road.
I fell asleep right there with my parent’s voices quietly resonating beside me.
This feeling of being loved, safe and protected somehow has followed me all my life.
Happy Father’s Day! I love you dad.