Wednesday, December 07, 2005

I got a box from my mom today.

They just moved from my dad's last AF assignment to a VA post in Tennessee, and they're drawing down their accumulation of stuff. I got the world's most rockin' salad spinner, a nifty colander, and the obligatory windfall of newspaper clippings/cat photos/jokes. And a sweater, that I'm currently wearing. Grey and slim and striped and worn into buttery perfection.

It's my dad's sweater; he's had it since high school, when he was living on a military base in Novato with his sometimes-charming, sometimes-cruel weatherman father and anorexic mom. I spent a lot of time in that city, too, squeezed into a corset and cavorting with the Ren-Faire folk, but I never had an inkling of what the place must have been like when you're not being chased down a dirt road with a peacock feather. Always grey. It looks like my mental picture of Frodo's Barrow-Downs.

I know that he was a meloncholy kid; I know that he grew up to be the most shining example of a human being I could hope to meet. I'm terribly lucky he's my dad. When I used to go to officers' functions with him and my mother, folks used to pull me aside and ask me, point-blank, if he was as perfect as he seemed. That's a pretty loaded question to ask a kid.

What could I say? Yep. Yep, he is. What you see is what you get.

I'm still gathering stories about who Terrence was before he was my dad (a walking tour of CalTech, shared stories of the hikes he used to take up here that I'm currently exploring, some snappy anecdotes about life as a recon specialist on the secret terretories of Cold-War Nevada before he matriculated into med school). I hope the process continues indefinitely. The life he's lived so far has been enviably rich, and I pray that mine will be as much.

Folks who meet my dad and then meet me are taken aback by the similarities.

I got the meloncholy, no matter how I submerge it. I got the compulsion to be always moving, learning, doing - sounds like a great pitch line on a resume, but in my case (and his) it's actual, factual compulsion. I just can't stop. I got the inability to ever be satisfied with myself. And I got the wanderlust - oh, god, did I ever get the wanderlust.

And now, I got the sweater.

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