Sunday, June 17, 2012
I Know Where You Are, Dad...
This record album is one we had when I was a kid. "Where Are You?" is still one of my favorite Sinatra songs. We used to make my Dad pose just like Sinatra, arm over the face, cigarette held just so ... I swear, he looked just like him that way. Dad would sometimes pretend he was annoyed when we clamored for him to pose, but he was such a ham, and he always did it for us. He did everything for us. He adored my Mom and devoted himself to her and his seven kids He was a good writer and photographer, a devout Catholic who worked hard to put us through Catholic school. He taught me to love reading, Shakespeare, classical music, and started me on my life-long love of classic movies. He was wonderfully funny, with the kind of dark and intelligent wit I've always liked the most. He was like ... well, like Robert Preston in The Dark at the Top of the Stairs, Clifton Webb in Cheaper By The Dozen, Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird ... all rolled into one. Shakespeare always says it best, it seems ... when Hamlet describes his dead father to friend Horatio, he says, "He was a man, take him for all in all. I shall not look upon his like again."
My Dad, Don Barnes, died in 1978 at the age of 52. The youngest of his well-loved children was only 15. The absence of that powerful presence left its mark on all of us. We all knew how lucky we were to have had such a father, and his place has never been filled. When I think of him, I remember what went through my head the day he died. I thought of it because I had learned it from him. It is what Horatio said to his dying friend, Hamlet, "Good night sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest." Happy Father's Day, Dad.