I had a wonderful Father's Day. My son, daughter, daughter-in-law, and grandson Calder joined the TG and me for brunch at a local restaurant, a long visit at our house (including several swims), and take-in Thai food for dinner.
It couldn't have been nicer. The weather was beautiful, the food was great, and we all get along so well. I got to spend lots of time with Calder, doing his/our favorite things: gardening, reading, playing the piano, rolling pool balls on the pool table, singing, playing with toys, looking at my collection of pop-up books, eating, and just hanging out.
Calder is the big bonus in my life. He's my new Best Friend and my beacon of hope in these times of Trump. He's just turned two-and-a-half and is as smart and verbal as he is handsome and sweet-natured. He's already a philosopher: "Mommy's the conductor, Daddy's the train, and I'm the whistle."
I couldn't help but think about my father Lester Robinson who never enjoyed the pleasures of grandparenting. He would have been a fantastic grandpa. My son Jesse was a real, active boy and would have loved his playful grandfather. My Dad died before Jesse was even born. He missed something wonderful, one of the capstone satisfactions of life.
Being a father has been one of the most satisfying parts of my life, and not just because I have a great son and a great daughter. The practice of Being a Father (and Grandfather) completes a man's destiny. It's part of Passing On What You Know and Leaving the World a Better Place, which is part of every person's role in life on Earth ... or should be.
I even got some nice presents: a shirt, a DVD of a Royal Shakespeare Company gala, and a book on John Constable's oil sketches, the ones I loved at the V&A last year.
Here are some words of wisdom on fathers:
"I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection." – Sigmund Freud
"One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters." -- George Herbert
"I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren't trying to teach us. We are formed by the little scraps of wisdom." – Umberto Eco
"It doesn't matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was." -- Anne Sexton
"It is a wise father that knows his own child." – William Shakespeare (Launcelot Gobbo in The Merchant of Venice)
"My mother protected me from the world and my father threatened me with it." -- Quentin Crisp
"When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years." -- Mark Twain
"The heart of a father is the masterpiece of nature." – Antoine Francois Prevost
"Why do men like me want sons?" he wondered. "It must be because they hope in their poor beaten souls that these new men, who are their blood, will do the things they were not strong enough nor wise enough nor brave enough to do. It is rather like another chance at life; like a new bag of coins at a table of luck after your fortune is gone." – John Steinbeck
"Fatherhood is great because you can ruin someone from scratch." -- Jon Stewart
Here a couple of good "father" songs:
"Soliloquy" from CAROUSEL – by John Raitt – live and classic – "My boy Bill!"
"Soliloquy" from CAROUSEL – the movie version with Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones (song starts at 1:30)
"Daddy's Home" – Shep and the Limelites
"Grandpa (Tell Me 'Bout the Good Old Days) – The Judds – a lovely live version from "The Tonight Show"
Merle Haggard – "Daddy Frank" – live from 1972
RIGOLETTO – the great Act I Duet between Rigoletto and Gilda, one of Verdi's great father-daughter duets – with Diana Damrau and Zelko Lucic, from a Met dress rehearsal
"Di provenza il mar, il suol" from LA TRAVIATA – by Renato Brunson as Giorgio Germont (from LA Opera in 2007, with a bit of a wobble from the old lion)
"Di provenza il mar, il suol" – by Ettore Bastianini, the Voice of Bronze and Velvet, probably my favorite baritone of all time
And just because it's Father's Day and I want fast access to them – a magnificent live Bastianini "Eri Tu" from UN BALLO IN MASCHERA from 1957
and a live Bastianini "Il Balen" from IL TROVATORE – Verdi gave the sweetest song to the villain