“Perhaps there is a distance that is the optimum distance for seeing ones father, further than across the supper table or across the room, somewhere in the middle distance. He is dwarfed by the trees or the sweep of the hill, but his features are still visible, his body language still distinct.”
Jane Smiley, A Thousand Acres
My father is a proud farmer, and believes that tending a bit of land and producing good food will feed the soul and change the world. He believes that ones work should be real and important and worthy, and that my mother is the most beautiful woman in the world.
My father is a reluctant patriarch. I believe his nine children will change the world along with his annual bounteous crops of root crops and greens.
My father is an inveterate reader who attends sporting events and choir practice in the church loft with a stack of magazines and newspaper a foot high.
My father has informed, infuriated, and formed me. I hear him in the voices of my siblings, and see the way his huge and calloused hands have formed the way that they venture out into the world to work, to struggle and to love.
Today is my father’s birthday. I meant to buy him a great book, but I didn’t manage to do it in time. Instead, I am offering my gratitude to my father, to that familiar far off figure silhouetted on a ridge, hoe in hand. Thanks for producing such a fine crop of sons and daughters, Dad, and for the passion for life that you have instilled in us all.