Saturday, June 15, 2013

Father Son Time

There are 32 years between my dad and me.  He was a childhood survivor of the Japanese occupation of the Philippines during World War II, and I was destined to be a self-absorbed '80s punk rock preppie.  I had everything and he started with very little.  Yet because of his force of personality he imprinted me with a love of cars, a love of aircraft, a readiness for conflict, a facility towards tenderness, and an inclination towards forging deep relationships only.

I don't think he ever understood the skateboarding, the aggressive drums and guitars, the comic books, or the foul language, but I also know he let me be what I wanted, within gentle parameters.  It's what makes me stand aside scratching my head as I watch my son chart his own way.

We are exactly alike yet so different.  It's precisely why when we did something together, father and son, it was always rare, bitter and sweet, and indelible in my mind.  I remember him taking me to see an aviation movie when I was 8.  I remember him grimacing when I confided in him that I thought I had a girlfriend at the age of 13 (I was wrong, but he let me figure it out on my own).  I remember him taking me to see the Blue Angels.  I remember him sitting through some ridiculous Japanese superhero stageshow that came into town.  I remember going with him to the Academy of Sciences Museum at Golden Gate Park while my mom sat in a medical seminar.  I remember getting a Tad's Steak with him in Midtown, because it was what he did when he was still flying.

And I remember going to the Hawaii Raceway Park in 1971 in a rented Chevy Camaro to do some laps.  I had a pink plastic F-104 Starfighter in the pocket of the shorts he and mom brought back from Amsterdam.  I was wearing Chuck Taylor knock-offs from Manila.  See?

Incidentally, I think he's none too please with how close I am to the dirt.  Sorry, Dad.  Love you.


M.Lane said...

A really nice post. He sounds like a very cool guy.


tintin said...

One sentence in and you grabbed me. Great writing. Would love to read more about connections to your father and son.

Ben said...

Thanks fellas! Yours are among the very few opinions I care about. As always I appreciate the visits, and your writing over at The Trad and The Epic.

Tintin, I'm glad you had a day to reflect on your Pop. And Counselor, I'm sure your future rock star did something memorable for you.

Bitter and sweet is right.

Ben said...
This comment has been removed by the author.