Father’s Day has just past. I got some great phone calls from the kids, expected, yes, but always welcomed. My son Jim came up with a list of his favorite memories spanning from his earliest childhood to more recent times. Tree forts made, his first memory of building a sand box with his Dad, a car phone before cell phones were invented, me being kicked out of a Pop Warner football game as a spectator, and more. But, must admit that turning 70 years of age is putting on me a real perspective now. Hell, starting my 7th decade on this planet……WOW!
If only Jesse’s dad could have made it that far and with the same cool memories. And, Hector’s friends in the barrio that did not make it back from Vietnam, and same for Pete and some of his friends as well. Father’s Day and birthdays, especially the BIG ones turn thoughts to wondering and finally, appreciating. The Bend is a work and story of the life of three families and how they impact themselves and others around them in the times of freedoms now lost or faded, and a new era of doubting oneself as a nation, the direction we all are headed.
Jess, Pete, and Gary and Hector discover their individual pathways toward understanding of how they will build a good and better life, all the while in the midst of war and times of social upheaval. “Getting along in years” does add more perspective to what this has all meant and will mean down the road. A good friend has said to me that turning 70 is something he does not like, but accepts. The trick is to keep interested, keep putting one foot in front of the other, and to discover there still is wonder in this world, and in people as well.
So, more Fathers Days will come if the fates allow, and another birthday, and then another before the fire of this life cools, dims, glimmers and wafts in the wind, before going out. Hopefully, that time is a long time down the road for me as a father and writer, and for the characters we come to know in The Bend.
After all, life is for the living, and this story is very much alive!