About a week before I turned 16, my father died.
I've been fatherless for 9 years now, and Father's Day has always been a weird day.
I'm always struggling to find a place to hide away from all the happy families and sweet little girls with their proud Papas.
This year there was something to actually celebrate: The movie "Prairie Home Companion"
My father was a big NPR fan. We would listen to it every weekend*. There were many long Sundays spent driving around Long Island or even upstate NY listening to Classical music, News shows, but best of all was Prairie Home Companion.
Sometimes, I really thought my father not only believed in a place known as Lake Woebegone, but was searching for the standards in his life:
"Welcome to Lake Woebegone,
where all the women are strong,
all the men are good looking,
and the children are above average."
When I was about 8 years old my father took my mother and I to our first Town Hall taping of A Prairie Home Companion. It made me appreciate radio and life a lot more after I walked out. I'm not sure if it was the singing, the story telling, the experience of seeing live sound effects, or just the look on my father's face as he laughed, and then got annoyed at me for fidgeting too much - I've always fidgeted too much.
Seeing Robert Altman's film written by Garrison Keillor tonight, made me feel very similar to our trips to Town Hall. It definitely captured all the magic and tenderness that I felt every time we'd watch Mr. Keillor speak in his smooth soothing voice. I even tapped my toe to the lively music the same way I did when I was a little girl.
And although my father wasn't sitting next to me, I know that he would've loved to have been there, and that he would be proud to know that I was there.
He taught me to appreciate the finer funny things in life.
So, today was a very happy Fatherless day for me, because it was the first one in a long time that I was actually able to celebrate my Father.
*Except when there was a Met game, then we would be listening to the Fan
Let's Go Mets! F-A-N do-do-dooo
if there was traffic we'd listen to 1010Wins traffic on the 10's.
"you give us ten minutes, we'll give you the world" every time I heard I remember telling my father that I felt gypped because after ten minutes I would get a pretty abbreviated version for the world. He liked that joke, he would give me a look like 'you've got moxie kid'.
P.S. I would like to thank my friend Debbie for being my "date" today and putting up with all my tales of Prairie Home Companion viewing.