For the longest time I planned to write about the year 1969. That is, until I adjusted to Father’s death. It’s likely best I let go of the research and accumulation of books about the year. They got in the way of so much living. Yet I wrote this post in August 2010. It captures something I’m likely to forget after moving on. Something that seems missing.
The last memory I have of my father while he was living escapes me. His death in February of 1969 was a hard pill to swallow and it occupied my awareness for a number of years after the funeral. I remember discussing my application to the University of Iowa with him and what I should do with my life. He had no input really. I had adolescent doubts about what I should make of myself. At school we were taught to take the decisions we made regarding career and education seriously. My memory is that advanced education was beyond the ken of what he could comment upon, although he seemed supportive of the idea of my leaving home to attend the university.
I remember riding in our car with him, listening to Mason Williams’ song “Classical Gas.” In explaining why I believed the song to represent an important coalition between classical and popular music, he kept on driving. With my savings from working at the discount store, I purchased a record player and we listened to Glenn Campbell’s rendition of “Wichita Lineman” while he adjusted the settings on the phonograph. He aspired to learn how to play the guitar, but it was an idea that he did not execute upon. He would finger the strings of the Kay guitar that I got with King Korn stamps redeemed the winter after the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. That was it.
Toward the end, his life was one of trying to get out of the slaughterhouse. First he tried working for the labor union, but that did not fit. He decided to finish college to become a chiropractor and during those years, we did not see much of him. In the end, he didn’t pass his board exams, but he was considering joining our church so that he could expand his client list.
I once hoped to write about life in 1969, but not any more. The regenerative aspect of vegetable growing and the opportunity to process and cook the produce in our kitchen is my calling. I missed having a father all these years and have adjusted. I should work on regenerating some of the missing memories this year.Big Grove Garden, Aug. 25, 2010