Friday, January 13, 2012

Happy Birthday, Dad

Today’s my father’s birthday. He would have been 79.

He’s been gone a while , almost 26 years. Even now, my feelings about him are complicated. I loved him and I know he loved me, but he could be a difficult man to be around. To his friends, he was a happy, funny guy, quick with a joke or a sarcastic comment. In private he was often miserable. I’m not sure why–he never talked about it to me. But I suspect it had a lot to do with his own childhood.

He was never abusive to me, at least not physically. When he was angry, though, his words could cut deep and his unhappiness was often radioactive, spreading throughout the house.

Most of the time I can focus on my memories of the positive side of our relationship, and that’s what I want to do today. My father passed along a great sense of humor and a love of books. He supported my early attempts to write fiction, and if he would have lived to see me published, I’d like to think he would be proud.

Happy birthday, Dad.


fiona1964 said...

That is nice you remember him
I lost my Dad 20 years ago and I always remember the funny things he use to do when I feel sad

And he would be very proud you became a published writer

Mark Justice said...

Thanks, Fiona.

Big E said...

Your father was always a good and fair man to me, even when I had to knock on his door and tell him I was the one that busted out his front windshield while playing ball in the street.

Mark Justice said...

Man, I don't remember that. When was it?

Big E said...

HA! I think it was around the early 80's. I must have been 13 or so, early teens. Tim from next door and I were pitching the ball up in the street and hitting it with the bat. Tim pitched the ball to me and I hit it. I thought I just hit the tree branch above his old red muscle car, cannot remember what it was. Pretty car. I thought for sure that it couldn't have busted the window. Convinced myself it was already busted. Then a day or two later I heard Dave or your Dad talking about it. Sweated it out for the rest of the day until I got the nerve up to go knock on his door and tell him. I thought I was one dead kid.

Mark Justice said...

After your first post I asked Mom about this. She said Dad really respected you for telling him what happened.