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Tag Archives: Father’s Day

found poem: silence


LRK about 1951In this undated photograph, my father is about 40 — his hair mostly gone, his bow-tie askew, his signet ring from Case Tech in place. I don’t know why he had this picture taken and I’ve never seen the final print, if there was one, but he looks tan and serious and much the way he would look for the remaining 40-plus years of his life. He was a good man — intelligent, loyal, honest and affectionate — and I know I was very, very fortunate in having him as a father.

Father’s Day

LRK and Taco - 1964Put off by the weight of advertising circulars in each day’s newspaper, I think about how little my father relished shopping. He would find something he liked — faded blue denims, for example — and buy several at once, railing at the world when they eventually became unavailable and he was forced into change. He accepted my mother’s additions to his closet, mostly without notice or comment, though he was always reluctant to part with the clothes that had been wear-softened to perfection, with their frayed edges and incipient holes.

He readily got dirty with whatever engaged him and eagerly got clean when it was done.

He wore bow-ties for every occasion that required a tie, including work, but vastly preferred casual comfort, changing from street clothes into old favorites as soon as he came home. (I do this too.) When he retired, his ties retired, and except for the rare wedding, he never wore them again — sometimes being the only man in the room without one. I think he was not unaware that he was a handsome man, but never preened or fussed, his appearance being merely another given, like hair color or height. He was easy in himself.

I miss him.

. . . . .
photo: Les with Taco, a brand-new member of the family, 1964


1927 - Art-Les-Irv-Zeke
On the back of the photo is written, in handwriting I don’t recognize, “The Four Brothers” (in quotes) and 4-3-27. My father, age 16, stands flanked by his older brother, Art (left), and his brother-in-law, Irv. His younger brother, Karl, clowns in front.

We remember them with affection — all good men, all fathers, all gone.

Father’s Day…

Hi Dad ~ by jik ~ undatedI don’t know how old I was when I made this card for my father, but I love the casual fancy-meeting-you-out-here look of the two waving figures. When I open the card, I’m surprised to see the deep pencil impression of the figures pressed into the paper. With a child’s intensity, I bore down for precision, but once I’d drawn the figures and written the greeting, I used the lightest hand to sketch in the tree and plants and sky and ground and a similar treatment inside the card, in pink.

Beside the correction — it looks like I wrote Fathers dad and then fixed it — and the period after the exclamation point, and the tree set partially out of frame, the detail I love is the girl’s skirt, a neat triangle of silver pencil that still has its metallic brightness after all these years.

Happy Father’s Day.

Father’s Day…

LRK gleaningWhen he was in his 70s, and then for about the last ten years of his life, my father was a gleaner. Once a week, sometimes twice, he would drive north into Ventura County, to the day’s target field, and gather by hand the produce that had been missed by the mechanical reapers. For a couple of hours, just ahead of the waiting plows, a small group of gleaners would gather broccoli or beans, celery or cucumbers, corn or carrots, potatoes or onions. If the produce was less than perfect, no matter; it was fresh and would be distributed by Food Share to food banks throughout the region.

The volunteer gleaners were allowed to keep some of their pickings. On his way home, with bits of soil still clinging to his clothes, my father would distribute his harvest to a few relatives and friends: a bag of lettuce, a handful of limes, a leafy and fragrant bunch of celery.

He had always been a gleaner, my father, gathering knowledge in the far-flung fields of his interests, then sharing his wisdom, his creativity, his protective nurturing. As I think of him, often, and today, Father’s Day, it’s his generosity, his spirit of abundance, that warms my memory — his faith that there would always be more at the source, and his great pleasure in giving.

Thanks, Papa.