My Old Man loved my Mom and she loved him. It showed. That it showed was instructive, and I believe that their love for one another may be what makes me think of them both often. Sometimes I dream of them, and distant joys and pains are resurrected by the crafty old Sandman’s mysterious impulse.
I like to look at pictures of them from long ago and imagine their lives before I was around. And I like to look at pictures of them from their healthy adult years, before they were brought low by ill health and infirmity. Like this one:
Several people have said how much I look like my Dad. I suppose that’s right, but in photographs my Dad always looks dignified — even in pictures from when he was a little kid or a very young man, there is a confidence and a sense that he felt he was at the exact right place at the exact right time. The cast of dignity is especially clear in photos of him from adulthood, say, when he was around my current age. At 51 he had three grown daughters and a 13 year-old son.
In photographs, I clearly don’t always look dignified. As a matter of ice-cold fact, in photographs I often look like a deranged, if somewhat tallish, elf.
I have been thinking of my old man especially often – most especially about the fact that over half my time on earth has been spent without him physically in it. Lately I have also wondered if, when he was 51, he thought much of his own father. I have been reflecting on Dad’s appetite for music, and how that influenced me. If I didn’t inherit his sense of being at the right place at the right time, or what I regard as his photogenic quality, at least I got that hunger and thirst for music.
I have been thinking about his taste in music. It ran toward big band, ragtime, and Dixieland jazz on the lively side, and on the more contemplative side, toward traditional- and folk music, and some American jazz from the late-1950s and the 1960s. He liked big choral music and orchestral music. He liked Sinatra and Crosby. As I have noted more than once on this page, he liked to sing and was not afraid to range in the land of the sentimental.
He could definitely have got behind this simple and sincere new number from Mac DeMarco, and you should, too. It is beautiful and I love it.
My Old Man by Mac DeMarco from This Old Dog (due May 2017 Captured Tracks).
Song For My Father by The Horace Silver Quintet (1965 Blue Note).
Wish you were here.