The Best Third Sunday in June

I woke yesterday to realize that all the sorrow and self-pity that used to enshroud me around the subject of fathers had just suddenly …lifted, I think because just a few days ago I remembered a  conversation I had 20 years ago with the then-pastor of Pilgrim Church in the Upham’s Corner section of Boston. This man of the cloth was telling me that a curious ‘gift of vision’ had recently arisen in him, as perplexing to him as it was to those around him. I asked him how it manifested itself.

“Well for example right now I see that there is a man standing behind you.”

The little hairs on my arms stood up.

“What does he look like?”

“He’s older,” he said. “He has wavy white hair and really bright blue eyes.”

“I know who that is.” I said. “I met him only once, when I was 19, and we spent an hour together in the bar of the DuPont Hotel in Wilmington Delaware.

“He was your father?” said this man, who knew nothing whatever about me and my life story.

“Yes,” I said.

“He looks so sad,” he said glancing over my shoulder.

“Well, he drank. He left us,” I said, feeling the old hard knot of anger for all my mother suffered as a woman alone in that era of the famously intact family

“That being the case, maybe leaving was the kindest thing he could think to do for you all.”

“Maybe,” I said but I didn’t believe it.

But now with the return to my mind of this long-buried conversation I’m seeing things in a new, more forgiving light.

Plus you know I look just like the man: Under the dye job, my colorist tells me my hair is now almost all white. God knows it’s really wavy. And just 16 weeks ago Nature served up to our entirely brown-eyed family a baby with eyes that same bright-blue as Hap Sheehy once had.

‘Time to issue the man a welcome, Terry,’ is what I thought waking up to Fathers Day yesterday.

So welcome, my poor sad terrified dad. Pull up a chair and we’ll all scootch over. It isn’t hard at all to make a circle bigger.

Author: Terry Marotta

I am syndicated columnist, blogger and author who loves any chance to give talks about the ease of first-person writing.

18 thoughts on “The Best Third Sunday in June”

  1. MY DAD WAS A DRINKER TOO – BUT A GOOD PROVIDER. I LEARNED THAT IN ORDER TO BE A GOOD DAD – YOU NEED TO HAVE A GOOD DAD. MY FATHER NEVER HAD A DAD SO HOW COULD HE KNOW? I KNOW HE DID HIS BEST. I HOPE MY KIDS KNOW THAT ABOUT ME TOO.

    1. For sure your kids know that about you. As for having a good dad being a requirement for being a good dad we have the Recovery movement to thank for the fact that that isn’t necessarily true. “pass it back or you’ll pass it on.” How many times have I heard the sober children (and especially the sober SONS) of drinkers say that!

  2. Forgiveness is a gift that frees you from the past. Savor the gift of life he gave you and the joys you shared with your Mom, Aunt, sister, cousins and lots of friends. Know how valued you are and that you can give that gift to others. Love, ya Gwen

  3. You do favor your Dad, Terry! He looks happy in this photo, very young too.
    So Eddie and David have brown eyes and Callie’s are bright blue.
    Welcome home, Hap!

  4. Hey Cousin,

    One of the most beautiful, touching things that I have ever read…….I never ceased to be amazed at the ability of a deceased parent’s love to keep giving and giving…………good feelings for all us yung ‘uns……….LY, barbara

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