Thursday, January 19, 2023

This Day is Always Hard

Effectively two thirds of my life without him. I don't know if I'll be able to get through all of this to the point where last year I never posted what I wrote on that day, 40 years later. It still affects me. I see myself in him sometimes, and it doesn't scare me, however it reminds me of effectively how I was raised. A few years ago, I orated a variation on the story that I wrote at the 35 anniversary of his death. If you haven't guessed already, I'm talking about my father. The man that taught me chess, blackjack, and magic among other things is simply gone but not forgotten. History is a tricky thing. We live in an age where most of the information that's freely available out there was created within this generation or the last. People are living longer, and it was last May when I had officially lived longer than my dad did, and with either luck or divine intervention depending on who or what you believe, I'll live at least twice as long as he did. He lived in an age where a glass or two of hard liquor every day or night wasn't considered a bad thing. I honor his memory every once in awhile by ordering either a Manhattan or an Old Fashion (ed?) instead of my usual wine cooler. I may do that the next time I goto the Castle, although, they took down his caricature several years ago. I have it here at home. A rereading of his obituary published in Genii Magazine tells of times he was the only performer there keeping the place open. That's a simple lookup if you're interested; Frederick M. Shields. You'll also find the picture of him on the cover dated Feb. 1959. I've published that before here, so no need to insert it again. I did grow a full on beard and kept it trim this year for no other reason than I wasn't getting free shaves at Barber College anymore due to COVID. It's scary how close I looked to how I remember him. Maybe I won't do that anymore. I don't know. My fear right now is if I stop writing, I won't remember him as well, and his affect on me. Ultimately, this whole thing is about me, as he's no longer here. My children never got to know him, or my mother either for that matter, however that's a story for another time if I can ever get through it. I've tried a few times but can never complete it without completely breaking down. I was 22 and fifteen days when he passed, and my children are somewhat older than that today, although my daughter has a little more to go before she turns 30. I don't truly know that I have the ability to have an adult relationship with my children as a result. It is however, a good goal. Did he do a good job with me? As an only child, 100% of his parenting was aimed at me. He had help as we discussed, as I am fortunate enough to be the product of two loving parents that managed to stay together for 38 years before he died. He never had steady work after someone at CBS Television City decided to go after his job to the point of making him look bad to get him removed. So, he would be there when I got home from school every day, and some days he would pick me up and I'd get a ride home. We'd talk about whatever, which was mostly what happened to me at school, and I didn't truly like talking about that. Maybe that's why I never did this with my kids. Would their lives be significantly different had I done so? We don't live in that universe. He wanted to write a book based on columns he wrote for Genii Magazine, however, that never happened. Every once in awhile, I fantasize about picking that up where he left off, however, that hasn't happened yet. I've got my own book to write. Someone once said we all have one book within us, and mine is necessarily different than his. However, the things he taught me about certain things he may have already written about, so he can live on through these annual remembrances. That is a word, dammit!!! RIP Dad. I miss you more and more every day.

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