Counter-culture Journals (文革)

Counter-culture Journals (文革)

Sunday, June 18, 2017

It's Father's Day—This one is special for me!

By SJ Otto
It's Father's Day. I'm a father myself, with a son who is almost 40. He lives in Portland Oregon. I still have my father, but I won't have him much longer. He has lung cancer and has about six months to live. He is 91. So today we can celebrate the three generations in my family. I have no grand kids.
This is likely my father's last Father's Day with me. I hope to make the best of it. Mao Zedong once said:

"Living is transformed into dying, lifeless matter is transformed into living beings. I propose that when people over the age of 50 die, a party should be held to celebrate, for it is in inevitable that men should die- this is natural law."[1] 

I think that is appropriate for my father. My mother died a day before her 80th birthday. Both my parents have had fine long lives. I'm sorry to see my dad go, but I'm grateful for the years we have had together.
My Dad and I have had our differences over the years. My Dad used to be a Republican, a kind of Dwight Eisenhower Republican, so the far-far-far-far-far to the right Republican Party political trend has turned my Dad off the Republican Party for now. I have always been more to the left so we used to argue about politics a lot in my younger days. Now we argue a lot less and agree a lot more. I'm still farther to the left than my Dad, but that seems to matter a lot less than it used to. Today my Dad and I have a real good relationship. I don't remember it ever being better than it is today.
So today, my brother, my Dad and a few other relatives will get together to Bar-B-Q some meat and sit around the back yard talking about the good ol' days. My son will probably call me on the phone this afternoon to say "hi" and "happy Father's Day." From what other men about my age told me the other day, "getting a phone call from your son or daughter is about the most you can expect out of Father's Day." And for me that is just fine. I'm always glad to hear from my son.
My wife, Cam Gentry has already lost her father several years ago. Cam really looked up to her father, even though he was a lot more conservative than her. Her Dad landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day, during World War II. He was one of the lucky survivors. I know my wife still misses her Dad every year on Father's Day.
Father's Day is one of those little holidays. But this year I will make the best of it. Next year it may just be me and my sontwo generations, of the men in my family. I do have five living brothers, so for all of us the Father's Day situation is the same except for the one other son and the three daughters two of my brothers have. And those two brothers have grand kids.
So to all of you who have a father, or grand father, or great grandfather, etc., be sure and make the best of it. It doesn't matter how long we and our fathers live, it matters most what we do WHILE they are alive. 
My Dad and some of his sons and grand sons.



[1] "INSTANT WISDOM: BEYOND THE LITTLE RED BOOK," Time, 20 September 1976, Vol. 108, No. 12, p. 38.

4 comments:

Otto said...

Yep...Very glad I'm still not "Mr. Otto" yet...That's a title I'll patiently wait for & proudly inherit AFTER he is gone. The Dad in this article is also my Dad and in complete agreement & sentiments of this article...I'll only add that a great source of wisdom and knowledge will go with our Dad who is of the classic "Greatest Generation" and he has witnessed so much that will be lost but so much more has been gained in his retrospect and insight as we move forward with the lessons of his wisdom and doubly blessed with the acknowledgement of 'how so few' are blessed with the gift of a fathers long life.

Kathi C said...

Beautiful article, Steve! I feel so grateful to have had the honor to call your Dad my father-in-law. He's an amazing man who raised courageous, resilient, and caring sons. As our parents age, it's hard not to think about whether each holiday will be the last we have them with us, but knowing with a good amount of certainty that is IS the last is even harder. It's good we all know how blessed we are.

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