(noun) word·smith \ˈwərd-ˌsmith\
Definition: a person who works with words; a skillful writer
Alternative (my) definition: a person who seeks out and will not settle for anything less than the *perfect* word
When we grow up with siblings, we learn the unfortunate necessity of doing equally for every child. No one should get more ice cream or better Christmas presents, more extravagant birthday parties or nicer clothes, certainly not fancier sporting equipment or techier technology than her brothers or sisters, and uneven distribution of anything can turn a home into a house of utter mayhem. I remember the burden placed on my parents in having two girls a mere fifteen months apart. Everything was a metaphorical scorecard and no kindness for that other child ever went unnoticed or untallied.
For Mother’s Day this year, I tried to come up with something truly memorable for my mom, and we had the most delightful day ever. (You can read about it HERE) For Father’s Day, I had my work cut out for me. My dad is a little more difficult to impress, ONE because he lives in Texas and TWO because he (like my mom) needs nothing. Still, I have been chewing on what to get for him for weeks now. A big, heavy bag of Apalachicola oysters from Joe Patti’s to shuck in his own driveway would have been perfect, but oysters can’t travel, plus it’s June, and I couldn’t get anyone to ship them for me anyway. I sighed at the thought of another book from Barnes and Noble, shrugged my shoulders at yet another trinket or gadget from the internet, and almost laughed at the thought of one more framed picture of his grandkids to add to his already enormous collection.
What would he love?
What is something he enjoys?
Think of something that would make him want to jump out of bed every morning!
And then I got an idea (…and immediately wanted to collapse from the realization of what all it entailed.)
My dad is a writer, like me. I guess that’s where I get it from. More specifically, he is a poet. Let me tell you about him.
He is long-winded, for one, and that brain of his is always cranking; he can’t even sleep many nights trying to figure out the world, obsessing about current events he can’t change, railing against world leaders he questions, fighting injustices he sees, and marveling at the magical wonders he witnesses.
He is retired after working for three decades in the oil and gas industry. Before that he was a sonar technician in the Navy during the Vietnam War. Before that he grew up the poor middle child of an alcoholic father and a devoted Christian mother who leaned on God to save her five children from their tumultuous upbringing. He is a hopeless cynic and he possesses but one perspective: his own, and at his age, I would say he has earned the right to feel the way he feels about everything. I try all the time to gently redirect him when he teeters over the ledge of social and political impropriety, but it usually doesn’t work. He is who he is and when he is at a loss for someone to engage with his debates, someone to converse with about his observations, etc…he writes them out on his computer and then emails them to me.
Sometimes you read about a rapper or a movie celebrity or an NBA star boasting that they can finally afford to buy their parents a house. I now get why that’s a big deal. Everyone, my Dad included, deserves to have a place to ‘live,’ a place where they can show off the fruits of their labor, a place to invite people over so others can see, up close, the things he is most proud of. So that’s what I did. I built my dad a house…sort of. I am inviting you over to his brand new blog. I don’t make any promises that you will like everything you read (if you’re a Democrat, I don’t make any promises that you will like anything you read) but you will absolutely love a whole lot of it. I do. Happy Father’s Day, Dad.
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