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I looked at my nieces and nephews and nodded Yes, it is pretty freakin’ amazing. I would have said this aloud, but I was holding an icepack to my lower lip. I had only been playing Trac Ball with Heather for two minutes when I took the high-velocity, air-filled plastic ball in the face. Dad was quick to give up trying to choke back his laughter when he saw my cracked and bleeding Jolie. “You know,” he said, “that has never happened in the history of Trac Ball.” Subtext: you must really be a moron. For his playful teasing, Dad earned a swollen smirk, a vision that apparently made it more difficult for him to continue chuckling guilt-free.

When we’d finished eating, Dad took a seat in his lawn chair and watched on like King Triton beholding his daughters from his throne. “Are you having a good day?” I asked, with a bit of a lisp.

“It’s perfect, just perfect,” said Dad. Sensing he had more to say, I stood silently beside him as he gazed at Heather, Jane, and Jenny, who were chatting with each other while making sure the children didn’t stray too far from the blanket Jane had set on the grass for them. “You know how an artist is never happy with their creations?” Dad asked rhetorically. “Well, I’m more easily pleased. I feel like an artist who can sit back and say, ‘Okay, I’m finished with it, and now it’s up to other people’s interpretations.’”

“What’s that feel like?” I asked.

Dad let out a little laugh and shrugged his shoulders at the idea of putting into words what he felt was beyond language. After a moment, and still laughing, he said, “It’s just super cool.”

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jim87vette July 3, 2008 @ 9:14 a.m.

I'm jelous and so happy for you barb.Although my Dad wasn't a bad guy he seemed more involved with other things when we were kids (sports).I wish we would of had more talks and time together nothing complicated just time, even if it was two people sitting on the grass leaning against each others backs. You have something ssecial and thanks for sharing with us. My Mother and I are very close but me and my Dad meh not so close.He doesnt understand the concept but still I love him and except him as being who he is but I cant sometimes wonder about the "what if"?


NinaNaNaNa July 3, 2008 @ 8:59 a.m.

Without overanalyzing or being too cheesy, that was just precious. Thanks for sharing!


Barbarella Fokos July 3, 2008 @ 3:48 p.m.

Thank you, Nina! I'm more than happy to share, and delighted that you enjoy my doing so.


Barbarella Fokos July 3, 2008 @ 3:51 p.m.

Jim, I'm sorry to hear that. I'm glad to hear that you are close with at least one of your parents. Best, Barb.


peaceloveandverbs July 8, 2008 @ 12:13 p.m.


Another wonderful piece. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your father, trying to envision they way my life might have been if I had had a loving father. How refreshing that you realize how lucky you are and that you don't take it for granted. Your column is the reason I reach for The Reader each week. Keep up the great work.



Barbarella Fokos July 8, 2008 @ 4:56 p.m.

Thank you for the thoughtful words, Peace. I try not to take anything for granted, especially my readers -- I'm honored that you enjoy my column. Best, Barbarella


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