But why not celebrate dads a week longer?
Here's me, with my dad, taken at his med school graduation:
We share a love of books, bad puns, lifelong learning, and outdoor adventure. Because he was a surgeon, I didn't get to observe his work, but I knew he could be called in at any hour to operate on someone who desperately needed his skill. He could also be counted upon for elaborate practical jokes---including one that involved a fake radio broadcast of an alien invasion at the nearby Tyson-McGee Airport. He bakes bread from scratch, recently enjoyed discovering The Phantom Tollbooth (great puns there), and has been married fifty years to my mom.
And here's my daughter, Rebecca, with her dad:
|Rebecca in her "meeting" dress with her daddy |
(First deployment to Iraq)
The references in her poem may not be clear to those who didn't grow up as a fighter pilot's daughter. But that's the beauty of father-daughter bonds---they are story written together.
The Fighter Pilot
by Rebecca Holmes
The throttle, the pressure suit, the callsign,
the rubber sleeves, the formation. The story
about being hit by lightning. Saturdays at the squadron
and urgent missions: rows of fake switches
in the simulator to flip all on, all off, and test flights
on the bench-press. The bar songs with the dirty parts
revised, the crud table, the afterburners,
the sortie, the tower, the roofstomp:
lexicon of all the nomad people who must
have left these rituals for us, although
scattered in pieces between Alabama, Virginia,
Rhode Island, Mississippi. The burning piano,
solemn prank and memorial for some long-dead
R. A. F. aviator, repeated here for the unspoken
name and for what might happen. The one about
the dead lizard in the Philippines. The broken nose.
The war stories, the sand, the contractors on the farm
where he grew up, building a silo, who didn’t
need advice and called him college boy. Always
the catfish meunière on the first night home
from the desert. He said the ice cream in the cafeteria
wasn’t bad at all. When I was a baby in Japan,
my feet never touched the ground until the box
of Tennessee dirt from my grandmother arrived,
until the proper ceremony, the flag, all the men
in dress blues filling the little house. Never
the slightest doubt about any tale in this canon.
I have seen the movies. I know fighter pilots
are all supposed to have a tragic flaw and someone
dies before the end. It wasn’t like that, but in August
on bike-rides we would peel out from the driveway
in formation. And at bedtime the trundle bed
was a runway: procedure was observed, the tower
notified, landing gear extended, instruments checked, and I
had to call the ball, Rebecca. It was better than any
cinema dogfight. We never needed enemies or flames.
----Rebecca M. Holmes (all rights reserved)
Poetry Friday is hosted today at Carol's Corner.