Thursday, July 20, 2006

A Visit with dad

So I am in the boonies of Maine, visiting the dad. He'll be 83 this December, God bless him. Even as he drives me crazy with his particulars, I am enjoying him immensely.

My failure to follow my dad into business has always been a bit of a sore spot. He often seems confused by my life choices and is frequently "concerned" about me.

Then... he said the one of the nicest thing to me yesterday that he ever could. He told me he was rambling to one of his local friends and it went something like this:

"You know, I used to be pissed that he wasn't out earning a hundred grand, but he really seems to be happy. He helps this autistic kid, and I have never seen someone with the schedule this kid has. He flies around talking to these alcoholics, now he's playing poker tournaments half way around the world... and oh yeah, he's a comedian... now that I think of it, it sounds like he has a pretty interesting life."

I have been waiting to hear that for ten years. I know dad adores me and appreciates me, but there has always been the hint of unfulfilled potential in all of his beamings about me, the hint of "if only the kid had (fill in the blank)" in the air. He would often brag about me, yet conclude the bragging with a disclaimer about how good I could have been at this or that, but that appeared to be gone yesterday.

I thought about what to write today, and that came to mind. As he sat scribbling answers to a crossword puzzle, I asked what the nice thing he said about me yesterday was, and he said, "ah... I've accepted your life."

I know that, ya big goof, but what was all that good crap you said again?

"Oh for Christ's sake, I don't know."

Keep in mind; although my dad is ancient, we are best buddies. We see (bad) movies once a week, except in the summer, when dad is busy terrorizing Mainers at his cottage on Sebec Lake, and I visit him in Maine as often as I can, usually 4 to 5 times a summer. Still, the thought of dad "accepting me" is scary in itself.

The last time dad tried to figure out my life and "accept it"... it went something like this:

The scene: dad's house. I have stopped by for a visit. Dad asks me about someone I had been dating, and I informed him that we were no longer dating, but we were still "friends".

Dad: Boy... you've gone out with some nice girls, Korte... good looking, too.

ME: yup... that's true dad.

Dad(shaking head): Funny...

ME: Dad, things are different nowadays. You don't marry every girl you go out with.

Dad: Some guys... well, they don't like girls... and you know... that's okay. It is today, anyway.

ME: (exit, stage left)

One thing I always found funny, was that some of the stuff dad criticized me for, I got from him, and from my grandfather, whom dad worshiped. He would scratch his head when I would drive a long distance to speak to some drunks (drunks like me, and some of whom probably contributed to saving my life, I should add). "You do this for nothing???" he'd say. Yet here is a guy who spent literally hundreds of hours every year doing taxes for free for widows, elderly, former clients. His dad always showed up with a bag of groceries, helped poor families, helped exchange students with housing, and believed firmly in charitable donations.

It seems like the old man is finally coming around. Good thing, too, cuz I'm a helluva guy.


Blogger Dot Dwyer said...

Both of my brothers and I have had the same "talk" with our mother. Initiated BY our mother usually telling one of the other two of us that the other one was gay. None us are, we're just extremely unmateable. Not a bad way to be. I'm glad you finally came out to your Dad.

9:42 PM  
Blogger Gooch----- said...

I remember the mighty Wren giving you shit for dropping your shoulder after throwing 1/2 dozen gutterballs... of course, you were 14 at the time and sarcastically dismissed his comments, naturally. I also remember getting some quality accounting advice on why not hit on 16!
-A wonderful fella that Wren. I'm glad to hear he's finally accepted your idiocy!

7:45 AM  
Blogger Korte said...

The best part of the visit was the realization that the solution to every problem in the world was simply to kill someone.

These long diatribes about this country or that issue was repeatedly wrapped up with, "You just have to get in htere and kill the bastards."

And my favorite extrapolation, "you've got to kill every one of the bastards."

This techniqe is especially useful, I imagine, when just killing "some" of "the bastards" doesn't quite do the trick.

3:14 PM  

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