Father’s Day is bittersweet around our house, since my dad passed away in 1992 and my wife Kathy’s father died a few years later. My kids never got to know their grandfathers, and in a way I never got to know these two men as well as I should have.
I was 31 when my dad, Patrick Pearse O’Regan Sr., died of cancer and congestive heart failure and hadn’t yet reached that stage where I truly appreciated – or thanked him for – all the things, large and small, that he did for me over the years. Neither of us were big talkers, so we didn’t share a lot of Hallmark moments between father and son. (Our sex talk came when I was 17 and had been dating a girl for a few years. One night he asked, “Are you sleeping with her?” “Nope,” I lied. “Good,” he said. “Don’t do anything stupid.” That was that.) We called him The Big Guy, and he led by example, not by words. Not all of his examples were the best, but he taught me the value of hard work, the benefits of a sense of humor and, indirectly at least, the importance of family.
Robert “Dave” Davidson, my father-in-law, was both gregarious and laid back, two traits you might expect from a Californian. Our physical distance – Kathy and I lived in San Diego for a few years but moved back East in 1986 – kept “Mr. D” and I from bonding, but I always enjoyed his company and his perspectives, and he seemed happy with his daughter’s choice of a husband. Dave was healthy as a horse and amazingly active with his wife Helen until multiple myeloma took him swiftly and shockingly. I wish I had the chance to get to know him better.
So now I try to spend more time with our three kids, asking them a lot of annoying questions, coaching their teams, driving them everywhere, and just being there if they need me. We had a good Father’s Day this year – waffles for breakfast, a day game at Fenway Park, a quiet night at home. Somewhere, I hope the Big Guy and Mr. D are happy with what they see down here.
Off to the Redneck Riviera for a family wedding/reunion, which I am looking forward to on many levels: celebrating the nuptials of one of my nephews and his Southern belle; seeing my brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, and inlaws in the first official family reunion since my mom passed away in 2002; detaching from work for a couple of days; and being on a warm beach. Will be back online next week.
April showers bring … school cancellations. Sigh.
Winter has finally reached New England, as our first Nor’easter of the year rolls in. A foot or so of snow is expected, possibly with some freezing rain mixed in. The kids are excited about their first snow day of the year, though the younger ones are missing their Valentine’s Day parties at school. All in all, I’d rather be golfing in Myrtle Beach, but it’s nice to finally see some snow.
Back online after spending much of the past three days without power thanks to Monday’s ice storm across southern NH. No electricity, no heat, no water, and ohmigod no broadband for part of Monday, most of Tuesday and half the day yesterday. My daily routine was replaced by frequent trips to Home Depot and the neighborhood Benson’s Hardware in search of portable heaters, propane, flashlight batteries, Duraflames and (finally) a backup generator to keep the pipes from freezing as temps dipped to a toasty 1 degree yesterday morning. The house held up pretty well; the owner is still recovering from Tuesday’s all-nighter spent stoking the fire, changing propane tanks and adding extra insulation to the pipes in the basement.
An ice storm knocked out power across southern NH yesterday. Ours was out between 11 am and 5 pm, then again between 7:45 and 10:15 pm – cruelly encompassing the entire 2-hour, second-night season premiere of my beloved 24. No on-demand options that I can see from Fox, which relegates me to reading the text-based synopsis on their site. Life is cruel.
Back from an extended break due not so much to the holidays as to a couple of big projects with hard deadlines approaching. Time flies when you have your head down, which means I have a lot to catch up on, blogwise:
- Death and dying. ‘Tis the season … for celebrity deaths. We’ve lost some great ones over the past couple of weeks (James Brown, Peter Boyle, Al Shugart, and yes, Gerald Ford, who restored some dignity to the White House after Watergate) and some not-so-great ones (Saddam Hussein, whose bootleg execution video has elevated citizen journalism onto an entirely new level). I lost both my parents in prior years around the holidays, so my heart goes out to anyone who lost a loved one in December, celeb or not.
- Reflection. 2006 was a big transition year for me: closed up magazine, quit job, started new business. Now working from home, I have reclaimed three hours previously lost to a daily commute and find myself much more productive. I’m thrilled to be spending less time on the road and more time with my family. Now, if I could just nail down that next big career step ….
- Rebirth. I will exercise more in 2007. I will eat better. I will drink less. I will organize my files. Sure I will.
- The NFL Network. Bizarre booth incident during the Giants-Redskins broadcast Saturday night when not one, but two distinct belches could be heard during the broadcast with Bryant Gumbel and Chris Collinsworth. The burps were so obvious that Gubmel, obviously at the prodding of a producer, acknowledged the passage of gas but blamed them on “an open mike somewhere.” Yeah, like the one in front of your mouth, windbag.
Here’s to a happy, safe and productive 2007 for all.