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San Francisco, Ashtabula.

I keep listening to this one tune from the recently released More Blood On The Tracks, ‘You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go (Take 5).’ It should, perhaps, make me think about my dad, who died at the end of September. But instead it’s my mom who keeps coming to mind and I suspect always will. “I could stay with you forever, and never realize the time.” Too much, really, but feels like the only way to start a post of this nature.

My father was my supporter, fan, comrade, etc, largely because he saw himself in me. It was an observation both dead-on accurate and way off the mark, but that was the man’s charm. He only knew two songs, really: “White Cliffs of Dover” by Vera Lynn and “Can She Bake A Cherry Pie (Billy Boy, Billy Boy.”) You could throw in “That’s Amore” by Dean Martin, but he was lost after “when the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie.” So he wasn’t very musical. I bought a Fender Telecaster some years back; a ’51 reissue in Butterscotch Blonde. One evening I left it over at my folks’ house but mistakenly thought it had been stolen from the trunk of my car. “Hey Dad,” I phoned and asked, “did I leave that Telecaster guitar over at the house?” “Let me check,” he answered with a barely discernible sigh. He was always more fond of my working on my fastball than my palm-muting. “Yeah, I think it’s in the living room .. the yellow one, right?” Yellow .. Butterscotch Blonde. A small detail but one that stuck with me. There were vast regions of life where ours did not intersect, yet in his mind we were always side by side. He wasn’t wrong; just overly-certain. He’d begin sentences with “Candidly ..” as though there were other times when he actually withheld opinion. He let me make fun of him and for that I am eternally grateful.

He had a temper, far more explosive than it was vicious. He always calmed down, never held a grudge, and appreciated my forgiveness. But when it discharged, atmospheric conditions were altered. He didn’t get it — didn’t understand the cumulative effect. “If I keep it in it will kill me,” he reasoned, which I figure was the same excuse we used in Nagasaki. I recognized it because I had the same, up until my early 20s. I only brought it out after on rare occasion, a few to show him what he was like. He did and didn’t get it. Looked at me like I was from another planet. Saw himself in me and then right on past.

Anyway, here’s the cop-out .. for now, at least. I wrote “post of this nature” but don’t have the rest in me at present. It just felt like I should say .. something. For a long stretch of time he was unquestionably my most dedicated reader. He liked my stuff on sports, ‘people-profiles,’ and of course anything about him. He thought I could write and I appreciated that. I don’t figure myself prone to superlatives too often, nor at this particular time, but ‘great man’ probably isn’t a stretch. All for now, though. Maybe a full-page comic strip is in order — he was a huge fan of those too, so forget what I said about the guitar stuff. “Dick in ‘Oh Christ, Now This.’ ” Almost boggles the mind ..

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