Thursday, September 22, 2005

Song For My Father

Its 3:30 a.m. in the morning and I cannot sleep. I should be exhausted as I have spent the last two nights sleeping in my office, and I was looking forward to sleeping in my own bed with my table fan blowing a gentle breeze across my room as I doze. I feel physically uneasy and anxious and my mind is staccato at best. I don’t even know if I should be trying to write anything since I was struggling to read more than a paragraph from my latest book by Bukowski, an author who normally puts me right to sleep with his ability to disarm fear, anxiety and loneliness by romantacizing the never ending struggle with these feelings.

Maybe I am distraught over the fact that Hurricane Rita is baring down on a portion of the country that at least 75% of my family lives in, but I really cannot say I have been that conscious of Hurricane Rita. I have glanced at enough articles in the last 72 hours to know that Hurricane Rita is Category 5. The funny thing is that I haven’t been that concerned about Hurricane Rita in spite of what I can only assume has been total media saturation. After Hurricane Katrina, I just figured it was only natural that the media cater to the fears and fascination, so I assumed that maybe the powerful coverage was mostly buzz. (Kind of how the media's decision to cover a “string” of freeway shootings or kidnappings ends up creating the perception that these crimes are on the rise when they might not be happening any more frequently, statistically speaking.) I am almost ashamed to admit that some of my friends have been more concerned about my family than me. Of course, its been mostly my friends who have never lived through a hurricane who are reaching out to me. My mind has been too focused on the people who have already lost so much in the past three weeks due to Katrina. As for my friends, I have accepted their thoughts and prayers, but I have pointed out that Houston is further inland than New Orleans plus reminded them that it was the failure of the levees that caused most of the New Orleans disaster, not the powerful winds and rain.

Of course the only really bad hurricane I ever experienced growing up was Hurricane Alicia in 1983 which I found out was only a category 3 thanks to Google. My memory of that storm is that it rained really hard all night and the power went out for a little while, but by morning, I was out in the driveway catching crawfish in the storm runoff and having “leaf races” with my brothers. I was only 9 back then, but I remember all of the adults being anxious. I remember being relieved yet disappointed that the windows had not blown in, and except for a few loose roof shingles and the blown-over saplings in the front yard, not much had happened.

Anyway, just before I started writing this entry I checked my G-mail account and there was an e-mail from my father talking about the current situation in Houston. He doesn’t seem very concerned for his own safety and health as he was joking about playing golf earlier today while many were buying up batteries, water and plywood. He went on to express mock disappointment about not being able to administer his first test of the semester since classes were canceled at HCC this evening. But my father did go on to also let us know that he was a little concerned about the wind damage blowing the very large trees in his aunts yard over and into the aunt’s house. Both his father and his aunt live in that house and they are both in their 90’s. He spoke about his plans for evacuating them.

In reading the e-mail I re-discovered something that I admire in my father and I have always hoped I would somehow inherit. My father is lovingly responsible enough to evacuate his Dad and aunt from a house that in all likelihood is going to be fine. He will do this with an almost cheerful sense of duty even though moving them (both are fairly fragile) is going to be a fairly difficult task, especially if my grandfather (moody Cancer just like me) is “on one”. At the same time my father is aware enough to re-assure those of us family members who are away from Houston that everyone is taken care of, and not to worry about him. And in spite of what I am sure is a ton of panic around him, my father is at ease and lighthearted enough to get in a round of golf. (Of course that could just be a sign of addiction.) I guess what I have always observed in my father is a great sense of responsibility without the world weariness and cynicism that impact so many other serious people. In spite of the fact that my father is far from ignorant, he has always seemed to be just as capable of bliss as any fool I have met. He has always been a role model of balance teaching me how to wake up early and on-time for school, but doing it by shaking me out of bed while blasting Michael Jackson’s Thriller through the house. Even if he didn’t mean to do it, he showed me how possible it is to be a mature adult firmly aware and respectful of the child he once was.

Anyway, I just wanted to say before the universal many refer to as God that I am thankful for my father and please bless him through the oncoming hurricane.

mr. wilson, jr.

P.S. By the way the title of this post is an album by Horace Silver…if a little late night jazz can’t put me to sleep now, nothing can.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...
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Mr. Wilson said...
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I am said...

Dearest, Wilsonism Jr. -

You stated yourself that you weren't as concerned for your family as many of your friends.

Need not feel guilty, my friend...
I believe that you have gained what you have prayed for from your father... to be "a mature adult firmly aware". Based upon your hobbies; I beleive you are "respectful of the child you once were", also.

I just want u 2 know that I appreciate your blog. It reflects quite a few essential elements to life that your father has given you... faith, hope and love!

Continue to appreciate joy and know you are blessed!

- iam