Sunday, June 16, 2013
And then, right there in Panera this morning ... tears in my eyes. Here's why ...
I had a review in the Plain Dealer today and was reminding Joyce how her dad, Thomas Coyne (who died in 1990), used to phone me when he saw I had something in the paper. I was writing op-ed pieces about once a month in those days--and although I knew that he probably didn't agree with the political slant of most of them (Leftish), he called anyway, told me he enjoyed reading my words. Said he was proud of me. I knew, too, that he took the paper down to the local donut shop (Krispy Kreme, his morning hangout), where he would wave the paper around and brag to his unimpressed buddies about his son-in-law. It embarrassed me then; I weep now.
My father and Joyce's father were in superficial ways very different. My dad (who died in 1999) was a college professor; Joyce's dad worked for Firestone in Akron most of his life. But their backgrounds were both rugged. My dad grew up on a farm in Oregon; as a teenager, he lost his own father and had to go to work during the Depression. Then World War II, Korea (he was called back to active duty but did not go overseas). Joyce's dad came from Pennsylvania coal-mining families. Both of our fathers worked for everything--hard.
In the most fundamental--most important ways--they were very similar men. They loved their children fiercely. They supported us--no, celebrated us--in all that we did. They were devoted to their wives and encouraged them to be and do whatever they wanted. They had enormously capacious hearts. In emotional moments their eyes would rim with red.
And so, this morning, they would have understood had they seen me--son, son-in-law--eyes wet in Panera. How I miss them both ...