Best wishes to all you Dads out there, the biological, the spiritual, and the fictional!
First a nod to Sir John Knight, father of Emma Knight who grew up to thwart diabolical masterminds.
A memory about each of mine:
He would come to visit our house in Massapequa in the summer fairly often. We had a lovely backyard patio where we would sit together before dinner during the stillest part of the day, early evening. The sun had gone done a bit and it was cool but the breezes had stopped (memorialized by Hoagy Carmichael and Johnny Mercer as “In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening"). He would inevitably look out on the grounds and say, “This is the best time to put down fertilizer.”
Grandpa didn’t have an easy life. A second generation Brooklyn Irish, he had to leave school after the 6th grade to work to help support the family. He got a job in the mailroom of Con Edison, when the Irish ruled it, and he worked there for 50 years. He had an excellent memory, and it allowed him to advance unhindered by his lack of formal education.
That his sons went to college and got advanced degrees---a lawyer and a CPA—was an enormous accomplishment. Grandpa was absolutely no saint—few Irishmen are--but that doesn’t diminish the sweat and pain and heartache of raising 5 children through the Depression and World War II and all that followed (along with a first son who died a tragic death in infancy, and a foster child who was taken away even as he was trying to adopt her).
And so I found it poignant that in his last years, he was freed to worry about nothing more than the best time to use the “spreader” to put down Scots Turf Builder, sitting on his son’s patio. And he was right. If you tried to do it when there was a breeze, it just blew into the air.
Dad Peel: I’ve written about his untimely death and my discovery of his teen bonding with the French language. My memory today is of one of his catchphrases.
Whenever there was a situation that happened that he thought shouldn't have happened, he would say, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever” in the most sardonic way. Yes, Dad invoked the opening lines of Keats’s Endymion as social comment. He was a very special man. Also no saint.
Brother Peel: A dad himself. I know that he tried to “correct” mistakes that our dad made with us. And he did. But he’s made a slew of new ones with his own kids. So goes the cycle of life.