June 19, 2011

An Elementary Father's Day

First, I just want to say - I really hate the month of June.

It's an attitude I've only developed in the past few years since my father's passing, with his birthday in early June and Father's Day in mid-June. Ironically, for me to even say that out loud is incredibly ironic, because Dad and I were not the best of friends.

We fought. A lot. One of our final conflicts - where I asserted my own need to "grow up" and take responsibility for my actions - led to my father ceasing communication with me for the last five years of his life. I'm saying this not to play the victim, or to complain, but to be as rigorously honest without engaging in unconscious character assassination.

But in the past few years since my dad's death, I'm finding that I'm sharing many of his interests, including - ironically - a passion for Sherlock Holmes. Upon his passing, I inherited much of his DVD collection (commonality # 1 - we both loved movies), and found he had movies in four exclusive genres: war (which I sold - I have too many friends who are veterans to find pleasure in war); westerns (several classics, which I've kept), Mafia (gave those to Mom), and several Holmes movies, including the complete run of Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes.

As someone who grew up watching Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce movies on Sunday afternoons - and who discovered Holmes at the library when I was eight or nine - I was really resistant to watching Brett. However, watching selected episodes of the Brett series, my heart has softened - Brett is as much Holmes as Rathbone was, with Brett providing a layer of grandiosity and flair in contrast to Rathbone's much more controlled cool. (It also helped that David Drake - and later the late Edward Hardwicke - provided a much more sturdy Watson to meet Brett's challenge).

But the other way in which I'm finding that I'm like my father is....well, in the way I'm approaching interacting with my godson, Logan.

Granted, being a godfather is much different than being a father....after all, I don't have to worry about food, shelter, or any of the practical aspects of bringing up a child. (His father - my cousin's husband - does a far better job than I could). But in a way, knowing that I have some share in his character upbringing is...

Perhaps this story is best: back in May, I drove out to Indiana to visit Logan and get a general update. Turns out, he's studious and a high performer in his class. Likes reading, and wanted "chapter books" for his birthday. Thankfully, I had purchased some for him - a volume of Ben 10 comics, as well as a copy of Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective (another of my childhood favorites). Although I cannot take credit (Logan's parents have far more of an influence on him than I do), I would like to think that I manage to have some influence on him....after all, he is beginning to take after me.

So much so that I'm seriously considering giving him the gift of Holmes this Christmas...

1 comment:

Rogerogreen said...

you're right on all counts. losing your dad is tough, no matter how complicated the relationship is. and being a godfather, or uncle, ain't the same as being a father, but it's something.