Father’s Day Reflections

This weekend is Father’s Day in the United States. Several things have converged this year to make me feel especially reflective about fatherhood. My oldest daughter is leaving for college soon. In fact, she’s away for orientation and preregistration during Father’s Day itself. What’s more, I find that several of my peers are of an age that they’re starting to lose their fathers. Unfortunately, I lost my own father many years ago, when I was only thirteen.

Dad-and-David

The photo to the left shows me with my dad. My dad worked for the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad. He was proud of the locomotives he worked on and that instilled in me a love of machines and a solid work ethic. When vacation time came along, he loved to travel around the United States. That instilled in me pride in my country and a love of the land’s rich history. My dad loved to hike, which instilled in me a love of the outdoors. Although I never really thought of him as a fan, I remember watching my first horror movies with my dad. I knew my dad for less than a decade and a half, but I still see his influence in my work and the things I choose to write about.

I have tried to pay these lessons forward to my daughters. As my oldest heads off to college, she’ll be tested with new freedoms and responsibilities. At some level, so will I, anxiously watching to see how well she’s applied the life lessons she’s received so far, and being an adviser where needed from a distance.

There’s no doubt that losing my dad so early has influenced my writings on themes of immortality and vampires. In that sense, it’s perhaps fitting that the second edition of the flash fiction collection Blood Sampler has just been released. That said, the book, that I think of when I think of my dad is Heirs of the New Earth, where space pirate captain Ellison Firebrandt comes out of retirement to save the Earth that he loves.

One thing that stands out about my dad was that he always wore a tie to work at the railroad. As a kid, I hated ties, but as I’ve grown older and developed a love for Steampunk, I’ve come to enjoy a good tie. As it turns out, I’ve asked my kids for a tie this Father’s Day. If I get one, not only will I have a nice fashion accessory, it will remind me of my dad, whose lessons I treasure and who I miss to this day.

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2 comments on “Father’s Day Reflections

  1. wsmarble says:

    David, your kids are so lucky to have you for a father. I am sorry for your loss at such an early age. It would seem the only silver lining in such a profound loss is the fact that you never miss an opportunity to live life the way it should be lived…not just to wring from each day all of the wonder it can have, but as an example for the younger minds learning from you HOW to live.

    And I wear a tie to work every day also, even though it is not required.

    Well done, Streampunk!

    • Thanks so much for the good thoughts. It’s true, I really hate to waste a moment of life, but I do make time to sit down and watch a movie or play a game with the girls. Relaxation is important — and I’ve had to teach myself it’s not a waste of time! I wouldn’t mind wearing a tie around work, but I do have to be careful. There are lots of tight corners and places ties can get caught, but I do find myself wearing them more when I’m out and about in my writerly work. Have a great week!

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