The third episode of the third season of The Crown is on and as the music plays I am starting to realize I am going to get almost a week of the first real vacation time I have had in years.
Got a brief but desperately needed transition between the job that brought me back to Texas and the new one I am taking on.
The change is stirring up memories of conversations with dad about whether to take the first one or to go a different direction and if I am honest, it bothers me that I can’t share this new one with him.
This is one of those father and son moments that no one else will be able to replace or fill in the hole that he left behind.
It is not a knock against my mother, siblings or immediate family in the slightest. Instead it is recognition of something he and I shared.
A father and son bond made stronger by the shared experiences of both being fathers.
Maybe one day my son and I will have it, but that isn’t going to happen any time soon and that is ok.
There are echoes bouncing around inside my head of dad insisting that I would miss out on a huge opportunity if I didn’t take the position I am leaving and his telling me to “go have a good life” during our last one-on-one conversation.
My folks gifted me with 75 percent of those books and I gifted myself with the remaining 25 percent because a good communicator needs a strong vocabulary.
It is not uncommon to see me flipping through them for fun nor unusual to see me slip a few of those words into conversation or written copy.
Sometimes I wonder about how many words I really know and can use effectively. There is no prize or bonus given for such knowledge, it is just my own curiosity.
And given my desire to be an effective communicator my usage of vocabulary is generally designed to reach a broader audience than to try to pass myself off as an aristocrat or English professor.
I like Mark Twain’s approach. It seems effective and practical.
“My works are like water. The works of the great masters are like wine. But everyone drinks water.- From Mark Twain’s Notebook, 1885”
Part of me feels silly for missing dad in reference to the new role and opportunity because chances are there will be several more because I am in a position to hang my hat up and retire.
None of them will define me but I will continue to grow and change and it seems a little strange to think he won’t be a part of it.
Sometimes people tell me that is not true and that he will always be a part of me and I just nod and smile.
There is a certain amount of truth to it like saying “I am a Jedi, like my father before me.”
If you really knew him well and know me you’ll see more than some physical resemblance.
There are behavioral and some common likes and dislikes.
The stupid kid who made a crack at my son and I today came very close to seeing what happens when a Wilner man thinks someone is threatening or messing with their kid.
But at the same time I am not my father and there are numerous differences between us.
Were he here you could go through a checklist of experiences and opportunities and know our response wouldn’t be identical.
I am sure there would be some areas where he would fool me and that my best guess regarding his response would be wrong.
And that is why I nod and smile because he isn’t here and my ideas about how he would feel/respond are educated guesses, some better than others.
It is worth noting I am certain he didn’t want me to be his twin or need for me to do exactly as he would.
The folks raised me to make my own decisions and choices about life and that is what I am trying to do with my kids.
We’re not always going to be around, so we have to give them the tools and skills to be productive members of society without us.
Given my druthers this vacation would be spent somewhere warm and on the water, maybe Maui.
But given the nature of wishes I might as well say somewhere in the Caribbean as I have never been there and have been to Hawaii a couple of times.
Given this is an unplanned but desperately needed vacation I am not going anywhere which is ok and not just because there are no other options.
But it hasn’t stopped me from thinking about possibilities and wondering if this will be enough time.
Because it will take a couple of days to truly decompress before I start to really loosen up and then there will be but a few days left before it is back to work.
I am good with that because time off without worry hasn’t been available to me in so long I am giddy with the thought of getting just a little.
While I roam the halls of memories I have chosen to ignore there have been a few moments where I have been asked to confront specters of past and present
At least one inquired as to what I think I am doing messing around in this manner but I didn’t hesitate.
I planted my feet, stuck out my chin and said swinging for the fences. If you don’t try to rope the damn moon sometimes you apply unnecessary limits upon yourself.
If I am going to make a move I might as well make it. Got space for some more gray in my coal black hair high and low.
So what the hell.