Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Fathers and Sons

My son proudly pointed his face towards me on the weekend and it took me a moment to clue in that he wanted me to see what a great job he had done shaving. It was the first time for him that there was nary a nick visible, anywhere. He had done a perfect job. I, on the other hand, haven't shaved for weeks. I often keep a very closely cropped beard, but my son had asked me not to shave at all, until after Christmas, so he could see how long my beard would get in approximately six weeks. So, being a good daddy, I am humouring him.

I remember, when I was much younger, trying to get my dad to grow a beard. On a visit to a farm that my brother and I owned back in the seventies, my dad actually went for an entire week without shaving. Otherwise, he didn't like the 'look,' and found the beard irritating. That's my dad in the photograph above, sitting between his two sons -- me on the left and my brother Alfred on the right. We look like a bunch of desperadoes.

I miss my dad. He was a kind, gentle man. He never said much. He always did a lot, for his family and friends and anyone he met. I have never encountered anyone who didn't like my dad. December 16th was the anniversary of his death at age 94, in 1998. His brother, Eduard, is still alive and will be celebrating his 98th birthday on December 31st. Eduard, as were the other of my dad's brothers that I was privileged to meet, is temperamentally much like my dad and a great guy. I wish him many more years.

I remember my dad fondly. I hope someday my son will remember me that way. To hedge my bets, I will on occasion grow my beard longer than I like, listen to the so-called music he plays, make him waffles every Sunday morning, and generally give him my time and attention.


  1. This is totally off topic, but I like this photo because nobody is smiling. Why does everyone have to smile for photos these days? I think there's something to be said for the natural pose.

    An on topic, beards are great. I've grown a short one over the last few months. People seem to like it, and I think it give me an interesting look. However, it's definitely not good enough to grow into anything long.

  2. Your mom's dad, Bruno, had a great beard at one time, before he died. I'm sure you've seen pictures. I miss him too. He dared to march to his own drummer much of the time and, I'm sure, got himself into trouble a time or two because of it. He left us much too soon.

  3. I imagine there will be no shortage of fondness in your son's memories of you.

    Isn't it strange to look at photos of relatives 'back then'... and, see ourselves now?

  4. Your post brought back many memories, especially mention of your dad departing on the 16th. My father died on the 17th, 32 years ago, in his early 60s. Just he and I alone in a raging blizzard. It was my mother who departed in 1998 on New Year's Eve. I so wish that I could have known them better than I did, that I could have asked them questions that I did not know to ask at the time. It sounds as though your son will never have to feel that way - that is truly marvelous.

    I LOVE that smiley trio shot!

  5. Jean: There are a few photos from the late sixties and early seventies, in particular, that I would be embarrassed to show. One thing for sure, though, I wish I were as skinny as I was in that photo. I look in the mirror these days and wonder who the old coot is that is squinting back at me.

    Lin: It is a good thing when we remember our parents with affection. It is a good thing too when parents are around long enough for us to be able to really get to know them and to learn from them.

    My son worries, sometimes, that because I am 47 years older than he, he might not have me around as long as he needs to. Based on the long lives of my parents and aunts and uncles, I suspect I will be around a long time.

    I imagine that you have some fascination stories to tell, for example about that raging blizzrd, 32 years ago. Who was it that said that we are the sum of our experiences? Whover it was, I think he or she was right.

  6. I miss my mom. She died in 2001. My dad is alive but has Parkinson's dementia, and is out of it more than in it, so I miss him too.

    The photo is wonderful.

    Happy Holidays,

  7. Thanks, Laurie. It is so sad when some people have to live out their lives with poor health, whatever the reason or symptoms. It means that we really need to enjoy ourselves and live our lives fully, while we can.

  8. What a sober lot you three look to be!

    It's cool of you to stop shaving to amuse your boy. He'll remember that fondly.

  9. Phlegmfatale: Yep, sober pretty much describes the 'look.' Interestingly, we actually had a lot of fun in those times, but you would never guess that looking at that photograph.

  10. Well, never judge a book by its cover, they say!

  11. You are a great Dad and look very much like your own Dad!