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Of course the next time I saw Dad, 1986, he was declining fast. Too late for talk. My fault.

Oh. Here’s another photo. This is great. Dad and me playing French bowls outside the Bar du Petit Port in Menton, right near France’s border with Italy. I’m 28. He’s 75. Yes. We had this one time together. We’d go there every morning for three weeks — both in berets, on principle — for a glass of pastis, a game of Pétanque — boules — and a chance to flirt with Sylvie, the patron’s daughter. She wasn’t all that pretty, but she had this laugh, and Dad and I both looked desperately for a sign that she favored one or the other. Trouble was, Dad, who never cared about winning or losing at Pétanque, kept winning. “Ah, monsieur,” Sylvie said once, “lucky in boules, lucky in love.” Yeah. That’s the photo I’ll keep, if you don’t mind.

This article is part of the Father's Day issue. To read additional articles from this issue, click here.

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