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Daddy

To commemorate Father's Day, this issue contains a collection of reflections from Reader writers about their fathers: The Last Tag Sale — Jeanne Schinto An Air of Exoticism — Duncan Shepherd Kinder Than I Would ...

The Last Tag Sale

I notice he has thrown away some color slides — family pictures. The bag breaks and they spill out. I don’t say anything, just pick them up off the driveway and put them in a ...

An Air of Exoticism

My father was older than other kids’ fathers. The disappearing and already disappeared hair on the top of his head offered testimony to that. The mustache that linked him to an earlier generation of Hollywood ...

Kinder Than I Would Think Possible

When I got in trouble, my father’s impulse was to hug me. He did punish me for the little things, but when I did something corrupt, committed a youthful transgression that had the potential to ...

What He Is, Is Dead

Dead, dead, dead is what I think now when I think, “Father.” My father’s dead. My father’s underground. More than a decade, my father’s moldered. His big belly’s deflated. His big belly’s dust and rubble. ...

Positioned on a Pedestal

My father died in the autumn of 1989 of congestive heart failure. His name was Lester and he was 79 and, as he recedes into the past, he gradually ceases to be a single human ...

Put Something on Those Feet

Moe: Not with the bare feet! Susie: Dad, I’m just going in the back yard. Moe: I wouldn’t go out there with the bare feet, Susie. You don’t know what’s on the ground. Those birds ...

Coffin Nails

I was born on a Sunday evening in May 1953, so I probably first tasted cigarette smoke, first inhaled it, the following Wednesday. If my dad smoked as he drove my mom and me home ...

A Self-Made Man

There were six pairs of Sunday school shoes lined up on the kitchen floor every Saturday night, three little patent-leather pairs with rounded toes and a single strap across the top of the foot, and ...

By No Means Mr. Mom

Wolf’s Breath Chili. That’s what I’m making for you, Deeda my pigeon sweeta.” The words whistled out from beneath the chip in my father’s front tooth. He danced around the kitchen and executed a combination ...

Bopodondo from Macondo

As my father lay dying, on June 29, 1990, I held his ice-cold hands. We didn’t say much, at first. Didn’t know where to start. Then I asked if the legend was true. His family ...

Real Parents

At breakfast my father asked me what I thought we should do if, in Grandma and Grandpa’s safety deposit box, we found the document identifying his real parents. The year was 1967, and he and ...

Sugar Jones

For a whole year — beginning in 1959 — I stole from my father and I never got caught. I was 14 years old, a freshman at Saint Augustine’s High School on Nutmeg Street in ...

Why the Tie, Why the Canoe

There is nothing better for a man but that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God. — Ecclesiastes 2:24 My father’s ...

My Father Never Stopped Moving

During my adolescence, my father had a hard time keeping a job. His problems began when I was 11. We lived in Pine Valley out in East County. My father sold surgical supplies for a ...

Time on the Court

I have never thanked my father for one of the nicest and most difficult things he ever did for me, because until I thought of it just now, I didn’t realize he had done it, ...

The Man Who Loved to Dress Women

“Never put a rat on your back.” I was five years old, hurtling through the subway station in New York, on the way to the garment district with my father when he gave me my ...

The Collector

He is old, now, my father. If he were a Toyota Corolla he would have well over 200,000 miles on him and you’d be wondering just how soon the old heap was going to seize ...

Friends Called Him Bill Daugherty

I don’t believe he liked me, but I can’t tell you that for sure. I can say I don’t think about him. Mom, I think of every day. I talk to her in my head, ...

Wild and Crazy S.O.B

Perhaps it’s a question of semantics, who knows, but I feel incredibly relieved to be done with “family,” “home” — these are things you grow up to leave and be done with, at least as ...

The Guy Who got the Lazy Boy off the La-Z-Boy

He likes rhubarb, polish sausage with sauerkraut, and mincemeat pie. He looks like Paul Newman and walks with a John Wayne swagger. (My sisters and I thought he was just cool, but later in life ...

His Lightness, My Weight

Until he lost consciousness eight hours before his death, my father was lucid. He did have night terrors, usually around 4:00 a.m., when, animated by morphine dreams, he’d rise cackling from his bed, hairy arms ...

You Don’t Have to Like Him

This Father’s Day I won’t send my father a card. I won’t see him, I won’t call him. I probably won’t think much about him. I’m being paid to think about him now. It’s not ...

Blue Milk Tickets

My father went to work 6205 days in a row, give or take a few, from 1945 until 1962. Until I was 16 and my cousin, Jackie, 18 or 19. We were both old enough ...

He Hung On For Dear Life, And So Did I

On December 31, 1997, my wife was five months pregnant with our first child. We’d gone to bed early, I’d dreamed a bad dream, and then in the earliest hours of the new year I ...

Pleasure Principle

I’m grateful to my father, Bill Grimm, for many things, the first and most fundamental of which is my life. As the 16th of 17 children, I’m thankful to my dad — and my mom ...

Don't Wait to Ask

Oh yeah. This sepia one is Dad, the 19-year-old skinny kid in the lieutenant’s uniform, with the canvas strips wrapped around his legs, huddling on the Turkish cliff in a trench, waiting for orders. Not ...

Lost

Sometimes, when I hear or think I’m hearing the voices of the dead, they thrum in my head like hundreds of bees I once heard in a blossoming almond tree. Other times they are the ...

Make Sure You’re Funny

Artifacts of a life surround me. Here is a penmanship certificate from 1933 and a diploma from St. Mel’s High School dated 1937. Here also: an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army dated January 1946, ...

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