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Poetry
a father's nachus

"a father's nachus" - 6/15/14

my father may not have been around a lot
but somehow he still managed to become my best friend
proving, early on, that adage of "quality over quantity"
people would ask me, "isn't that hard, with him away so much?
and I'd think to myself, not really! when he is there, he never raises
his voice, he never has an unkind word for me or about anyone else.
I have never heard my father give an insult or let out an "ugly toad"
in words, of any kind; I still don't know how this can be possible,
but it is the truth, and defined the word respect for me, as I grew.

miraculously, my Dad became Santa Claus
he showed up monthly or even every other month
with gifts, with laughter, with unconditional love
and a sense of wonder and perpetually youthful joy
that rivaled any friend my own age I ever made
he wrote limericks, he challenged us with games
when he was there, he was more "there" than, I sensed,
many of my friends’ fathers, even when they had
family dinners every night, or did homework together.

my father taught me the virtues of being independent
as long as you could occupy your time with something
you truly, unequivocally enjoyed. he didn't only tell me this
by saying it to me; in fact, he rarely used words to tell me much.
I learned by observing his behavior and actions, foremost
he embraced his life's work with zealousness: a straight line
between a positive disposition, natural talent, and a practical nature
my father became my hero, because he rarely seemed to succumb
to negativity, disparagement or any number of "adult" qualities abounding
in teachers at school, counselors at camp, and among friends' parents
when I'd visit them to play. I rarely heard my father arguing with anyone
versus debating; I can't think of a single moment where he needed to be
right purely for ego's sake, rather than to genuinely be searching for insight.

integrity has seemed to be at the heart of my father's lessons to his children
and while everyone has a different idea of what that might comprise
I’ve rarely disagreed with him about it, rather than been inspired to strive.
when I think of his laughing eyes, his warm, affectionate embrace, his ability
to imbibe any activity with a shameless sense of fun, I also think of a level of
self-confidence I'm not sure I will ever have. what makes us most different is
his seeming invulnerability to adversity, versus my own emotional volatility.
my father’s presence in my life continually poses the question: how can one
be an artist, be creative, and tell the truth. I'm grateful for the luxury
of determining this answer for myself, without judgment,

with a father’s nachus.