Fathers and sons.
December 10, 2012
These excerpts from “Dan’s War” witness a soliloquy by Dan Trotter, the main protagonist, a man who has a hard time with emotion, sees prime numbers the same way he sees his loved ones, in pastel colors. Yet, he does feel for his son, Jeff, as you will read.
I’ve included this video again as I think it is so powerful and adds so much to the book.
[This is Dan speaking.]
“What is a father’s love for a son? I’ve had some time to think about this … ”
“You might say it is, at first blush, the love of a name–my name, carried past death; a celebration of his birth realizing the continuance of a line, a pedigree. How stupid is that, right? It’s only a name.”
[Then Dan watches a little boy (whose name I will keep secret here) fall, not cry, but push up and run and smile at Dan.]
Dan grinned. “Yep, the boy-things I loved next. We were both guys, so we did rough and tumble things, testosterone-enhanced, like football, rugby, baseball–pitting strength, one against another.”
[Dan follows the little boy around a garden, a garden that is special to Dan and this book.]
“The next part is a bit complicated, but bear with me.”
[The little boy gazes in an open-mouthed smile, dimples and all.]
“I hoped he would be better–in the areas I failed, he would excel. So I pushed to make sure that my failures did not become his, that his life abounded in new opportunities. Then it happened, he grew into himself. I had to accept him as his own person: a different contribution, not only to the daily human conundrum and the DNA of life, but to the future. Whether I liked it or not, he traveled in his own direction; he was the future, and he would do it his way.
[The little boy does some things that make Dan cry, something he has done maybe twice in his life. The toddler then shows how smart he is.]
“You’re as smart as he was. After I accepted Jeff him as Jeff, not Dan’s son, it was cool to see him puzzle a scenario in Resident Evil, show Katie how to solve an algebra problem, and feel his strong arms hug me. I didn’t always lik hugs, you know. Or him caring enough to show affection in public.”
The next bit will give away too much, so you’ll have to read it in the book.
The love a father for a son can be as strong as any emotion on the planet. Of course the love of a daughter is just as strong, only different. And yet we still send our sons and daughters into battles to save our asses.
Why is that?
I remember singing this song to my son, my daughters. That was way before Cat Stevens became Muslim. But it still applies. Maybe more so after 9/11 and so much hate has erupted between us and Muslim countries. Now I sing it to my grandson.
Hug your loved ones, today, now. DO IT! They may not be here tomorrow.
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Milt, I read your post on the CT tragedy and it is right on. I couldn’t help but notice your older December 10th post which is almost prophetic, given the recent horrific event.
I produced a homemade film called “The First Five Years” based on my two boys in that time period. The filming on my camcorder was overdubbed by music. In one scene, my oldest, Kyle (now 24) was 3 years old rehabbing from a stroke he suffered while at a family vacation in the Bahamas. We had just got home from months of absolute terror, first on the Island of Eleuthera, then in Nassau, then at the University of Miami Neurological Hospital, then at Long Beach Memorial — and THEN home. My home films showed Kyle with a green splint on his left arm as he hobbled like a drunk around the yard. The stroke had been on the right side of his brain, so it did not affect his speech and he is right handed, so he was lucky there too.
In my film, as this scene I describe turns from your yard to his rehab in the pool where the 1984 olympics held their swimming events, Cat Stevens is singing “Father and Son”.
Truthfully, I cannot hear this song without weeping tears of joy. Tears of sorrow. Tears of love.
Studying President Obama’s face while speaking to the press corp yesterday in response to CT brought the same kinds of emotions out. It doesn’t matter if you are pro-gun, anti-gun, Democrat, Republican, White, Black, old, young, a president or king, laborer, Muslim or Christian… We are all human beings armed with EMOTION.
Today, Kyle is an aspiring young man. He doesn’t have motor skills in his left hand but, other than not being able to play baseball or doing all his keyboard work with his right hand, you would never know he had a stroke.
Whoever wrote Obama’s statement yesterday put as much emotion into a couple sentences that were penned by Cat Stevens.
From “Father and Son”:
“It’s not time to make a change,
Just sit down, take it slowly.
You’re still young, that’s your fault,
There’s so much you have to go through.
Find a girl, settle down,
If you want you can marry.
Look at me, I am old, but I’m happy.”
Those kids were just getting started. Hopefully, there will be some common sense made of all this in the days ahead.
Hey, Mark. Thanks for your comments. You’ve certainly had your share of adversity with your son, and you both made it through great. Hope you have a great Chrismas, and give Kyle a hug for us!