I don’t often pay much attention to Veteran’s Day except to ponder the horribleness of war. But this morning I realized the most influentiam man of my childhood served in the armed forces..and I don’t even know where he is today.
My Father is (was?) a Navy Vet, having served in Vietnam and surviving the 1967 USS Forrestal fire, one of the worst disasters in US Naval history.
Today, I wonder where he is, if he is still alive. And remember the gifts he gave me despite his own struggles with PTSD and manic depression. World travel, despite our being poor. Virtuosic brilliance, despite his own emotional struggles. And unflagging curiosity. It took decades for me to forgive him for shit he couldn’t even control…but I hope to tell him someday.
If magic of this sort works and you still walk the earth, Daddy, thank you. Thank you for not being sensible, and for taking us to Morocco and all over Europe. Thank you for letting me watch things I had no business watching. Thank you for giving me “grown-up” books i wasn’t supposed to be able to read yet, because I read those fuckers anyway. Thank you for your valiant efforts to fight depression and to harness your manic streaks. Thank you for teaching me to hot weld in first grade. For eerie brilliance, and for being pretty damn amazing even if it took me too long to realize it.
Thank you for holding my little hands and singing to me as I danced while standing on the tops of your boots. Thank you for trying your best.
Thank you for surviving.