Fathers Day 2012 Release
By George Seaton
The dynamic between fathers and sons is complex, most often least understood by the players themselves. But is it the father who does not know his son, or is it the son who does not know his father?
The discovery of a Father's Day card in a box---long ago shoved into a dark corner in a cellar---provides a revelation to a son, a gay son that shatters all previous conclusions about his father. Set in Denver, the ravages of a massive flood, and the disappearance of a nine-year-old girl, provide the background for a son's coming of age, and a father's eerie ability to "...read the hunch...," that is essential to his prowess as a cop.
I am looking at it now. It is an unremarkable card from the folks at Hallmark. It is mostly cream-colored, with a textured gold-colored ribbon surrounding the sentiment and drawing on the front. The sentiment reads, “To the best father in the world.” The drawing provides a briar pipe—quite simple in its design—resting in an ashtray on a round tabletop with a thin spiral of white smoke coming from a small red glow within the innards of the pipe’s bowl. A pair of leather gloves lay next to the ashtray. I do not know why this particular card captured my interest then, so many years ago. Then again, perhaps I do. I wonder at the symbolism of the drawing, especially the leather gloves. But even now I smell the delicious aroma of the tobacco mix (a tinge of vanilla), and I know the gloves would smell just as lovely if I could pick them up and cradle them against my nose. Maybe that was it. Maybe the image on the face of the card just impressed me as something the best father in the world would have on his side table. And, yes, perhaps the best father in the world would live on a wooded drive, in a two or three-story farmhouse in Vermont or Maine. Perhaps he and his son would walk the woods of ancient oak—the trails layered with the colors of fall—along with their three or four Irish Setters, and trade thoughts about life and living and the future. And, as the day began to fade and the wind picked up, they would walk back to the warm inviting farmhouse, the father’s hand upon the son’s shoulder.
My father smoked fat cigars. A large tumbler of scotch/water invariably sat next to his ashtray on the side table next to his—and only his—recliner; a large leather chair that sputtered a complaint when he first sat down and creaked whenever he stretched to retrieve his scotch or cigar from the side table. We, my mother and I, lived with my father in a ranch-style house in southwest Denver, with a backyard fenced-in by chain link that corralled a black, brown and white dog of indeterminate lineage; our trees were modest, bushes really. Our lives, unfortunately, did not conform to the pleasant world evoked by Hallmark.