Sunday, June 16, 2019

Father's Day

It's a Sunday in June.

Father's Day.

Did you know Father's Day didn't become official until 1972 when President Richard Nixon signed it into law? The things you learn!

From the "no secret" category, it's a day to miss my own dad, but still cherish being a father myself.

Sean is either asleep or just waking up as I write (at 10:22 a.m.) but he's also 17. So I get it.

I put one of my dad's favorite albums to listen to as I type.

The Drum Battle – Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich at JATP is a recording of a 1952 concert that served as a "showdown" between the two titans of jazz drumming. The brilliant fireworks of Krupa -- who revolutionized jazz drumming on "Sing Sing Sing" with Benny Goodman at Carnegie Hall in 1938 (we'll come back to that) -- combined with the explosiveness of Rich, made the windows of our house rattle more than once as Dad played the record on the hanging "HiFi" turntable in the living room.

My father had Goodman's Carnegie Hall concert on record, just as he did The Drum Battle. He handed me the precious Goodman records one night in the '80s and asked me to transfer them to cassette. He knew I'd treat it like it was the Honus Wagner T206 baseball card.

I still have that record, in its 1950s pressing. I also have his copy of The Drum Battle, originally from 1960, but I think he found it years later as I recall (probably at Caldor). Even further along, and long after he died, I found it on CD (probably around 2004). I did the same with the Goodman concert.

Dad was such a Big Band jazz guy, while I evolved deeper into Miles Davis and Dave Brubeck and Charlie Parker and so on. But I'll always thank him for giving me the initial nudge into the world of jazz music.

Instead of sitting here lamenting him not being around (and I miss him literally every day), I'm sitting here tapping my feet to Krupa kicking Rich's ass*, and life is good.

*Whether that is true or not isn't actually relevant. It's what my dad taught me. So in this case, we're good.

But not forgotten in talking about Father's Day is Sean. I was never content to simply be Dad. I wanted the relationship that I've written about here for years. I'm not content to simply have an absentee relationship. Nope. Not happening.

And I kept that promise. Any effort to try to paint me otherwise (trust me, people are ruthless) isn't worth the time of day.

In 2019, fathers are in all shapes, sizes, and descriptions. They all deserve saluting, from biological fathers to stepdads to father figures to pet fathers and anything else. I'm all for including everyone. Hallmark will happily sell the card!

Too often, bad fathers are highlighted. There are plenty of good and great fathers. Dads who serve as both mother and father. Dads who can do it all.

Happy father's day to everyone. Now go have a catch.

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