“I remember visiting my dad at the nursing home. He had seen me through everything but now he’d been ill. Anyway, he looked up at me and said ‘You’re in a good place. I don’t have to worry about you anymore…’”. (SPOKEN BY KEN, AGE 60, YEARS AFTER HIS FATHER’S PASSING)
Al Bogart would have said he never worried about me. He’d have insisted, rather, with that nuanced verbiage of his, that he was … from time to time … “concerned”.
“You’re not working to your ability,” he’d intone (whether quoting Mr. Goode from Rowland, Mr. Govun from Greenview, or merely comparing my high school SAT’s to my Brush GPA). “It would be different,” he’d remind me, “if you didn’t have ability.”
Drenched by an indomitable spirit, my father parented with soft, measured eyes. Part “hands on”, part “Go find out the hard way”, he was never overtly worried but ALWAYS overtly concerned. Indeed, his admonitions and paternal warnings were the product of both his inward yearning things would square up and his gut-felt confidence that indeed they would.
He believed in me; and he trusted in God, and yet …
“I don’t care if your friends’ parents let them hitchhike.”
“I’m certain you can find a place to ski a bit closer than Boyne Mountain, Michigan.” (Ed. Note 1: Winter break ’67 the genius of Snyder crafted a plan that with Kraut we drive some nine hours north. Brandywine, of course, was eight miles away. Not to mention that Jews on skis were universally frowned upon).
“Wouldn’t it make more sense,” he’d suggest, “To finish your homework first and THEN play hearts?”
Ah, but just as our father held faith, our mother harbored fears. Thus as his world enriched, her world plateaued. And then there was this dynamic: Elaine Bogart saw so much of the man she divorced in the first son he sired. She feared, as such, that I’d take on the sum of my father/hero (and not just the best of him).
So she worried. Feigning confidence, forever loving — but always: she worried.
I’ve got three kids. Adults. Three distinct, different children.
Well-coupled, in worlds of their own, and HeavenHelpMe…out-of-state.
Through life’s marvel and mire each threads family and friends and work and play and health and growth — the very essence of which kept my father concerned and my mother so worried…
— All of which will work out, of course.
Four hundred miles from one — five hundred from the others — I think about them, speak with them, visit them, and I wonder…
But worry I don’t. Not really.
I’ve got my father’s eyes, you see … his abiding faith. My eyes, too, have seen the glory. I care to know, need to know, and have to know.
Michael, Jamie and Stacy are brighter, more balanced and clearly wiser younger than their father was (or for that matter their grandfather). They too –like their father and grandfather, will splash through life’s puddles.
I know, (you see), something they don’t know: states away I might not be in their faces …. but God will always have their backs.
What, me worry?