Skip to main content

Saturday Morning Calls

It's been a while since I posted something. My traveling, and to a logical extent, my photography, has been on pause these past two years. It was mostly due to personal reasons, namely buying a new home and switching jobs/careers. My father's failing health also played a major role, constraining me to travel exclusively back and forth to Italy multiple times.  On May 8, he died.


He made it a point to call me every Saturday morning at 10am on the nose. I think he felt it was his way to reconnect with me. Growing up, we rarely got along. To call it a rocky relationship would be an understatement. In later years we had a mutual understanding to stay away from minefield topics that would trigger our respective tempers.

So every Saturday morning I'd get a call from him. We'd talk about the weather, food, travel, current events. And he'd always end the conversation with, "take care of yourself". I can manage pretty well in Italian, but it's always been difficult to talk about matters beyond those subjects. Emotions are harder.

Language was always a nasty wall to climb. It's bad enough nearly two generations separated us (my father was 39 when I was born), but I also grew up speaking a different tongue, immersed in a different culture. We had so little in common as his son grew up American. Many things were left half expressed, or just completely unsaid.

His passing has left me incredibly ambivalent. It's been easier to remember the good things about him now that he's gone. He had some truly unique and amazing qualities. I feel guilty for remembering the awful things he did, the darkness he was capable of; the things that still whip me into a white hot rage. You're not supposed to think ill of the dead, but life is never that clean, so why should death get a break?

I've learned that feeling both opposing emotions is not a mutually exclusive concept. Mostly now, I just allow myself to have those raw feelings while still missing him, missing those Saturday morning calls.

******************************************

A CALL  by Seamus Heaney

“Hold on,” she said, “I’ll just run out and get him.
The weather here’s so good, he took the chance
To do a bit of weeding.”

So I saw him
Down on his hands and knees beside the leek rig,
Touching, inspecting, separating one
Stalk from the other, gently pulling up
Everything not tapered, frail and leafless,
Pleased to feel each little weed-root break,
But rueful also . . . 

Then found myself listening to
The amplified grave ticking of hall clocks
Where the phone lay unattended in a calm
Of mirror glass and sunstruck pendulums . . .  

And found myself then thinking: if it were nowadays,
This is how Death would summon Everyman. 

Next thing he spoke and I nearly said I loved him.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Travelogue 5 - Bora Bora!

Bora Bora  •  January 15-23, 2015 When I told friends and family that I was going to Bora Bora for my next trip, I have to admit I drew some pleasure in the announcement. I heard the response so often that I was able to mentally mouth the words, "You're going to Bora Bora!? I hate you, that's on my bucket list".

It was an expensive trip, but not nearly as expensive as some would think. The huts floating over those powder blue waters are Bora Bora's visual calling card. Mostly located on the motus (islets) that surround the main island proper, the huts snake into the waters like bacteria sprouting in a petri dish (it's an awful simile, but if you ever see an aerial view, that's exactly what it looks like). Instead of lounging for a week in one of these hovering fantasies, my friends and I decided to rent one just for an afternoon.

Still, it was generally agreed that the choice to rent a modest condo on the main island proved more rewarding. Saving a ton of…

The Smell of Old Yellow Paper

Earlier this month, I donated my entire comic book collection to charity. It's a 33-year old collection that dates back to one of my first books, Uncanny X-Men #171, the issue when Rogue first joins the team.  For 60 cents, I was hooked, and the cover still gives me a thrill: Rogue running from the rest of The X-Men with the tag line stamped, "Welcome to The X-Men, Rogue...Hope you Survive the Experience!"  Eventually I went on to collect other titles in the Marvel and DC canon like The New Teen Titans, SpiderMan, Alpha Flight, Justice League and many more.

During inventory, I noticed most of the titles dated back as early as 1983 to 1986/ '87, after which everything stops cold. Even my collection's chronology tells an unlikely story about me; because that was around the time my father, in one of his black rages, ordered I never collect comics again. I still remember how he sealed the demand with a crack across my face. Not to veer too far off topic, I'll jus…

Travelogue 4 - Isola di Ponza, Italy (June 23 - July 4)

On the early morning of June 23, a driver picked me up at my flat just off Piazza del Popolo and drove me to the port city of Anzio. From there, I took a hydrofoil to the island of Ponza.  Ponza is one of those best kept secrets: it floats aimlessly in the Tyrrhenian Sea, just south of Rome, north of Naples. Ponza doesn't quite have the name recognition of Capri or its Greek counterpart, Santorini, but that’s just fine with me. It retains its authenticity to the maximum while maintaining its tourist trappings to a minimum.
My family comes from Ponza. My father still lives here. According to him, the summer months still saturate the island with Italian mainlanders, but it’s a nominal price to pay when such a small island is rich with natural beauty and a history that dates back to ancient Roman times. 
I’ve written about Ponza before.  I can blather on about its history, the people, the wonderful coastline dotted with grottos, cliffs, and the beaches whose surrounding sea waters m…