Wednesday, August 04, 2010

The Last Days Of Disco



I've noticed a few ads for movies which seem to have the same concerns about paternity -- the absent dad in Cyrus, the dad who loses his job in Ramona and Beezus, the sperm donor for two lesbians in The Kids Are All Right, and the friend who switches a sperm sample in Switch. The role of the father these days seems even more complex than in the days of Rosemary's Baby when the Devil himself was the substitute pitcher after a night of drunken revelry. "He has his father's eyes." My dad, who died six years ago today, kicked it old school. I was born in a time before dads routinely said things like, "We're pregnant." My dad would have scoffed at such nonsense. We are not pregnant as we will not be squeezing a baby out of our vagina. He had what we used to call the sense God gave a goat and now is referred to as good boundaries. Dads in his day didn't videotape births on their Flips and send them to friends via their Iphone (does anyone else find these commercials disturbing? I especially hate the one where a woman tells her husband/boyfriend/secret lover (who the hell knows?) that she's having his baby. Doesn't this seem like something you'd want to do in real time? Just saying . . . ).

But my dad was a great dad, the dad everyone in the neighborhood wanted. Granted the competition wasn't what you might call stiff -- there was the alcoholic Frito Lay man, passed out in his delivery van by noon, the guy who shot up his family one very hot August night, the funeral director/pedophile dad . . . well, the list could go on, but you get the idea. My dad was fun. He'd put on his compilation of disco songs (Don's Dancing Dynamite Disco Mix! was written on the tape label in black Sharpie) on the tape player and do the bump, the hustle, and as time passed, the moonwalk. Don's Dancing Dynamite Disco Mix! was a staple for at least twenty years. Right before he died, he and my sister and Sissy Lynn visited me in Detroit. I was living in the kind of apartment that evokes pathos, the kind of place that makes you say, Is this where it all ends? A doomed kind of place which made me get them out of it as often as possible. We spent one of Dad's last days on earth at the Henry Ford Museum where there was an exhibit that paid tribute to disco -- A Decade Of Friday Nights. Friday was always Dad's favorite day, the end of the work week, the start of the fun. Wherever he is, I hope it's Friday all the time, an eternity of Friday nights, not just a decade.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
Paradise -
I see flowers
from the cottage where I lie.
~Yaitsu's death poem, 1807

Cocktail Hour
Am reviewing some writing books this week and next -- look for it . . .

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Wednesday! Hey handsome Mark and lovely Robin, thanks for the kind words about the excerpt! You guys are the very very best! And Robin, glad to hear about that writing mojo . . .

9 comments:

G said...

A very nice tribute to your dad.

JR's Thumbprints said...

I second what G said. I played hookie from work today so I could go fishing with my Old Man. Life's too short, so I figured I might as well enjoy the day with him; Beats arguing with mentally disturbed inmates.

Anonymous said...

You are cool.

the walking man said...

I am assuming that is you and your pops. what I really want to know though is are you wearing high heels in the picture.

I am certain that your father is resting in the house of his ancestors dreaming of Don's Dancing Dynamite Disco Mix!

I wanted to do the "Your Dad" thing when my kids were born, just call me and tell me then let me wait in the waiting room like normal but OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH NO...fucking birthing centers had just become the new age rage.

R's Musings said...

Thanks, M. It feels good to work with words again.

"The Spirit of Writing: Classic and Contemporary Essays Celebrating the Writing Life," edited by Mark Robert Waldman includes essays written by Annie Dillard, Stephen King, Natalie Godberg, Sylvia Plath, and Anne Lamott, among others. Have you read it? I enjoy picking it up occasionally and reading an essay or two.

R's Musings said...

I also meant to say that it's hard to believe that it's already been six years since your dad's passing. I can just picture you and Beth dancing with him to the disco tunes. What a wonderful memory!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post. You've brightened a sad day for me.

Tin Cup

jodi said...

Darling Michelle, I have absolutely no doubt that your Dad is with Mom enoying comfort and peace. After visiting you in that hellish rathole, I am sure they are both happy to see that the location of your life is so much better. And wait, Sissy Lyn is there too! Love you, babe. xo

Lana Gramlich said...

Your dad sounds awesome. This was a very nice post about him. My own dad was somewhat similar (but they were of a very different age, after all!) One thing I loved about my dad was that he not only encouraged me to learn all that I could, but he helped me do it. He, too, was gone too soon.