I just sent in an essay today, musings on the occasion of Father’s Day for consideration at an online ‘zine. If it doesn’t appear there or anywhere else, digitally or via ink, I’ll definitely post it here on Pops’/Baba’s Day. Meanwhile, all that thinking about fathers and Fathers’ Day and my own lesbo fatherhood has gotten me all warm and runny about my own Pops.
He is a very loving person, and he has seen his younger sister, his wife of 30+ years, and his first grandson die of cancer. He made it through WWII, landed at Normandy Beach, and I asked him, wasn’t Erik’s death harder, and he said, by far. War was a piece of cake by comparison.
Here we all are, trying to make sense of our being left here. Here he is, at 85, outliving so many people he’s loved. When he searches for reasons, he usually comes up blank. But he rapidly agrees, when reminded, that meanwhile, we keep each other company, and open our hearts up as wide as we can to as many people as we can. That about does it.
His own father basically kept saying a similar thing, but in the language of a god-reared, farm-bred, first generation born in America, South Dakota German immigrant minister’s son: Service to mankind, Tom, that’s the thing; service to mankind.