Every Day is Father’s Day

This week’s column is timely:

I have a picture of my Dad, and on the back of it, in my dad’s rather elegant script is the name: Ed Geauvreau and date: 1933. Since he was born in 1919, Dad would have been 14 when the picture was taken. In an exercise for a writing workshop I described the picture as thus:

“He clambered atop the tall tree stump. Cut three feet above the ground, he surveyed the world around him from his solid perch. The tree had just been toppled by his dad and uncle and was being hacked by an axe that had seen better days. The pieces of wood strewn around the base of the stump would be fed to the wood stove inside the old log cabin he called home. That little black pot-bellied stove was the only thing that kept their cabin warm in the winter. Right now the memory of the acrid smell of burning wood teased his nostrils.

“I am the king of the world!” he announced to the squirrels scrambling through the woods, hither and thither as squirrels are wont to do in the fall. He stripped off his thick sweater and pulled up his scratchy wool socks. His bulky knickers were made even more cumbersome by the contents of his pockets. The balled up handkerchief his mother made him carry shared space with his pocket knife, some smooth stones he had fancied, and a bunch of hickory nuts he had gathered and stored away until he got home and could crack them open with a hammer. It was the “dirty thirties” and conspicuous in their absence from his pockets were coins.”

I took some artistic licence in describing my dad in the picture, or more accurately in describing some of the details of his life. He was standing on a stump. The stump was three feet off the ground, and he did look like “the king of the world”. But I have no idea what was in his pockets—I just guessed. And he did not live in a log cabin (though I believe there was a log cabin on his dad’s farm property). I have no idea who cut the tree down, or why the stump was so tall. But the stump was in a forest bare of leaves and dad was standing on that stump looking both pensive and rascally.

He had his hands tucked into the pockets of his sweater and he looked like an active fourteen year old caught in a moment of inaction. Though the picture did not show a close up of his face, if one peers at it intently, one can see the beginnings of a grin, and imagine the thought process of the young teenager. He looked like he was thinking—“let’s get this over with so I can get back to more important things ” which I imagine included gathering stones and nuts and using his pocketknife to whittle some of the wood at the base of the stump.

If my dad were still in this dimension rather than the next he would be 96. I miss him every day, but I am grateful that I was one of the apples of his eye—the other three being my brothers and sister, and later—his grandchildren. My dad was my champion—anything I endeavoured to do he believed I could do it. And he believed that of all his children.

He held down responsible jobs over his lifetime—the last and longest at Ontario Hydro. But he was a musician first and foremost. He and his dad and brother were quite a popular dance “band” back in the day, and it was something that was reignited in the last decade and a half of his life. He could not read music, but he could play professionally anything that had strings—from the fiddle to the banjo to the guitar to a little ukulele we gave him when we were kids.
I have a bit of a creative bent, but I can barely carry a tune in a tin bucket (or whatever that cliché is). My eldest son seems to be carrying on the music tradition and his love of music reminds me so much of his grandfather.

This Father’s Day, as every day, I will be remembering all the wonderful things that my father taught me and thank my lucky stars for being afforded such a wonderful dad. Just because he is not physically here does not mean that he is not here with me. Love you, dad. Happy Father’s Day!

Published in: on June 16, 2015 at 10:11 am  Comments (12)  

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12 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Great story. May his memory be eternal.

  2. Great tribute Lou…..he would have loved to read it….maybe he is.

  3. What wonderful memories to have of your father… and your creative writing skills are excellent… (even if you can’t carry a tune)… Diane

    • thanks Diane–and yest I do have wonderful memories–and those things I cannot remember, I make up!

  4. That was just beautiful :). Now I want to call my daddy.

  5. A wonderful tribute to your dad. I think those of us that are blessed with wonderful dads have a right to put them on a pedestal & take certain liberties in how we tell a story. After-all – they are our first male heroes. 😉
    May your dad continue to rest in peace.

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