40 Years On
It was exactly 40 years ago today that my Dad dropped dead of a heart attack at work. Someone once said that there are things we never really get over, we just get used to them. I guess this is one of them.
My Dad was an old-fashioned kind of guy -- an honorable man of simple tastes. He wasn't my "friend" -- he was my father; an authority figure. But that doesn't mean that he was a cold disciplinarian. We had an awful lot of fun together. As far as discipline goes, his greatest quality was consistency. If something was wrong today, it was wrong last week, and I can guarantee you it'd be wrong six months from now.
I learned a lot from my Dad, an appreciation of fine music being one of them. He taught me how to read music before I ever touched an instrument. (He had taught music professionally in New Bern, NC.) He played several instruments, steel guitar being the foremost. And he sang remarkably well. I can still hear him singing "Der frohe Wanderer" and "Tief d'rin im Böhmerwald". He was an excellent storyteller, too, and I only wish I had been able to record in some way the many stories he told us.
With the recent passing of Dan Fogleberg, I'm reminded of a very fitting tribute from one of his hits, "Leader Of The Band"
"The leader of the band is tired
and his eyes are growing old.
But his blood runs thru my instrument
and his song is in my soul.
My life has been a poor attempt
to imitate the man.
I'm just a living legacy
to the leader of the band.
I thank you for the music
and your stories of the road.
I thank you for the freedom
when it came my time to go.
I thank you for the kindness
and the times when you got tough.
And, papa, I don't think I said
'I love you' near enough."