Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Question for Dad

My brother sent me a link to a recent Joe Posnanski blog post that incredibly intertwines a story about Bruce Springsteen's prolific years between Born to Run and Darkness on the Edge of Town with a story about Joe and his father.  It is masterfully written, and I encourage you to read it here. 

Joe's an fantastic writer, and the story he weaves is really touching. 

After reading it, I reflected on it a bit, then I waded into the comments at the end of the blog.  Big mistake.  One post in particular mentioned a reader who had previously has some discussions with his friends about the questions they would ask their deceased fathers if they had the opportunity.  That hit me hard, because I immediately know the one question that I'd ask Dad if here was standing here right now.  And it'd be a trick question, too. 

"Dad, do you love me?" 

I can see his face immediately after I ask.  His brow would furrow and he'd appear a little hurt.  "Of course I love you," he'd say.  "Your Mom and I love you very much.  What, are you wacko?"  Then he'd go in for the huge bear hug, and my trick will have worked perfectly. 

Nobody could bear hug like my Dad.  He hugged with his heart.  He hugged with gusto.  He'd surprise you with his strength and musculature of his shoulders and arms.  It felt good, even when his unshaven cheek was rubbing against yours.  And when you were there, there was no better or safer place in the world.   So if I could parlay my question into a hug from my Dad, I'd be quite content to ask no other questions of him. 

Note that in my quote above, Dad replied "your Mom and I."  He often did this in things of significance.  Some might speculate him doing it because it kept him from being totally exposed on emotional issues, but in my years of observation, that was not the case at all.  Mom and Dad were a team, knew where each other stood, and were unified in their approach to us kids.  When he'd say stuff to me that began with "your Mom and I think...," I could believe it, as I knew they had verbalized it to each other, they were on the same page, and one of them could freely and confidently speak on behalf of the both of them.  Mom often used the same language, and it meant the exact same thing coming from her. 

Note to my brother - Please don't send me any other blog posts like that where there is a possibility I might read them at work.  Not cool.  But please do send them along, because with this one I got to go back and experience a wonderful dynamic between our parents, and if I close my eyes, concentrate hard and open my heart, I can clearly remember what it was like to get a hug from Dad.   


  1. Mike love this blog! Made me think about what question I would ask my parents. Thanks for reminding me how much I miss and love my parents.


Please feel free to include any thoughts you may have. Know, however, that kiddos might be reading this, so please keep the adult language to yourself. I know, for me to ask that language is clean is a stretch...