There is the saying that goes something like this, “You don’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been,” or similarly, “You don’t know who you are until you know who or what you came from.” In case you didn’t realize it already, I’m one of those introspective folks. So I spend a good bit of my time thinking about myself. And at first this seems a bit egocentric, but by no means are my thoughts always self-righteous. On the contrary, I tend to be most critical of myself. I know my depravity exists from the core. Hopefully you will allow for me to think highly of who I might be as well. And the good in me usually is not comprised of my deep devoted effort, rather it comes from the fixated purposeful forming and winnowing of others that love me more than I deserve (I guess love comes undeserved in order to be truly love).
My father just so happens to be a prime candidate for influencing me towards the greatest of good. And I certainly don’t toss a thought like that out there lightly. It could be obvious enough that he had the foremost impact upon me since he’s known me from birth. That eliminates almost everyone else bar a few relatives that I have had far from regular interaction with as I grew up. But many sons have know their fathers since they were born and wouldn’t necessarily come to the same conclusion. I am blessed.
I made it back to Hilton Head for a couple of days to visit the rents before I head out of the country for a few weeks(more on this at a later date). I spent most of my youth on the 12 mile long island, and the gate I drove through for years is still there. It’s where I come from. My parents are proud of their home and the fifteen years they’ve spent in it. And as I allow myself time for a little introspection, I come to realize how much I learned in that home under, and next to my father. Only recently did I even begin to enjoy looking back on childhood, for I have always been in such a rush to become an all-out adult. Now I’m reaching it, and I’d rather close my eyes and smile at my father teaching me how to catch or swim. We enjoyed eachothers company along the water. We went for a walk while I was intown. I’ve always loved the late afternoons down at the beach, walking and talking, or not talking. We would be distracted by our search for a shark’s tooth, or a fisherman’s catch, or the incoming tide that might’ve trapped us against the marsh. My father taught me to fish, and how to ride a bike. He showed me how to brush my teeth or comb my hair (which I find little purpose in now that mine is curly and his is gone).
And as I matured throughout the years my love for things began to surface. My father, whom I call Papa and is known by most as Tony, has always been a lover of literature and music. It wasn’t til college that I began to see how beautiful words on a page can be. And he’s always been a writer, jotting out songs into his mini-recorder after hopping out of the shower early in the morning and then sharing them later with me. I aspire to be a writer and a poet like he. And those are just a couple of examples. There are many other ways I aspire to be like my father, too many to mention here.
It’s the first day of summer Papa, and as you know, it’s the “longest” day of the year. The sun hangs a little longer today, giving me a few extra moments to look back and reflect, to smile on the bright moments where you’ve helped make me into the man that I am. Thank you Father for teaching me what you have, for showing me what’s important. Thank you Papa for loving me as you have. Thank you friend for sharing with me through thick and thin. And when the sun has set, you can be sure, I know where I’ve been. And I’ll know where I’m going when another day begins.