Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day

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.

13 comments:

Joy said...

Wouldn't it be lovely if all children could have memories like these? (Great photo of your Dad!)

MONA said...

what a sweet memory!

& both your parents look like a perfect made for each other couple!

Its soothing, the way you tell that story about a smug family in the car. Its so important that our children feel like that!!

Steve said...

What a terrific post! There's nothing like going to sleep when you're a kid, with the security of your parents' voices nearby. I used to love lying in bed and hearing them in the living room, talking as they watched TV.

lettuce said...

those are lovely snuggly memories of trust and warmth and security.

you look quite like your dad. do you have the bad boy charm too?

Reya Mellicker said...

This is a beautiful post! I love the story about the leather jacket - that's so primal. What a great guy!

I, too, used to love it when my mother would tuck me into bed, read me a story, then join my father downstairs. The soft sound of their conversation made me feel so safe. It was their watch, I could fall asleep.

He was a beautiful man, too - not as cute as you, but pretty darn cute! Thank you so much for these stories.

Reya Mellicker said...

Lettuce, Gary definitely has the bad boy charm!

Oliviah said...

That was so beautiful and heartwarming.

Gary said...

Joy,
Yes it would. And your response on your blog http://briefhistoryofanorphan.blogspot.com/2007/06/fathers-day.html is so powerful. We'll talk. Well, we do don't we?

Mona,
Thanks. My parents really do seem perfect for each other in every way.

Steve,
Yes, their voices and the sound of the TV (Johnny Carson)lulled me to sleep many times.

Lettuce,
I of course think that I am a very good boy but my nearest and dearest tell me that my own vision of myself is skewed. But, I do admit to the charm. :)

Reya,
Thanks! I agree about the primal aspect of the jacket. You and I have so much to talk about on my visit to DC this summer!

Oliviah,
Thanks for stopping by the blog and for your lovely comment.

Pod said...

i love that safe feeling, dozing off with voices in the background. i remember coming home from the hospital one night as a podule, and i fell sleep on the back seat. when we got home, i stirred but pretended to be asleep so that i would get carried upstairs to bed. i still try to pull that one off!
;0)

Junk Thief said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Junk Thief said...

I love the posts you have done on both of your parents. I had equally kind, loving parents. They were not without their flaws, but the memories that ring strongly today now that both are gone are just as warm and nurturing. I always feel better after reading your entries.

Angella said...

I happened upon this through link within and just had to let you know how lovely it is. I am glad you had such parents because you now know how to make others feel safe, protected and loved in the very important work you do. Merry Christmas!

Gary said...

Angella - I love that you found this old post on Christmas Day. It gave me the opportunity to go back, read it and relive some of those wonderful childhood memories. I just got off the phone with my parents who are as loving and kind as always. It's a blessing to always feel that love and belief in me no matter where I go or what I do. It has served me well.

I guess you are right. The examples they set have followed me into the work I do everyday. I see that in you as well from your posts about your family. Merry Christmas! xo

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