The celebration of Father’s Day this year was spread over two days and what fun! No one could be more proud of being a father than I with four genuinely delightful, caring children. I can be “proud” because I don’t feel I had much to do with their success as human beings except in my memory of helping to conceive them and having cheered them on into adulthood and still am, rooting for them as they have become parents with children of their own. Once in a while I find myself envying my friends who stayed in one place and whose children and grandchildren are nearby, often just a few minutes or a few hour’s drive away. But mostly I’m okay with the way it worked out, the children now far-flung, living in Alaska, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Vermont, everybody being just where they want to be. It’s just that I miss the frequency of personal contact. I notice, to get together as family now as we age, as I age, takes a lot of planning and energy.
It’s not that I lack “family”either in the broader sense of the term. For starters I have personally “adopted” two young families, one a single mother and her 3 year old daughter, and the other, a couple with two young daughters, one of whom I was holding in my arms only hours after her birth. It was one of these families that celebrated Father’s day with me on Saturday morning along with my close friends (my muse and her partner and a mutual friend) at “Tweets” a special restaurant in the little town of Edison (I think I may have mentioned the restaurant in an earlier journal).The restaurant specializes in breakfast-brunch just three morning a week with wonderful combinations of food, always enough to fill a good-sized dinner plate, loaded high. I had, for example, a large portion of sauteed collard greens with giant prawns and a fried egg, over easy, on a large flat home-made English muffin and while waiting an Americano espresso and half a home-baked biscotti. Altogether a pleasant time, the atmosphere genial because all the patrons were relaxed and the staff all appeared to be enjoying it too. That afternoon, conversing leisurely with Kornelia and Brian on our deck, sitting in the new, all-weather chairs and sipping ice water, taking in the afternoon sun, also a treat. I specifically remember how the two laughed at my story about “Sam Ting”. Before it was over, I was laughing, too, caught up in the hilarity of it and glad I was able to tell the story with a poker face. It doesn’t do to start giggling before the gag line.
That evening I worked a little bit on what increasingly appears to be the “hidden” life of Mary Magdalene. Mary M. does come through as the “Apostle to the Apostles” the first to discover Jesus’ risen state and then commissioned by him to announce it the disciples and the world. So right away, something special in the relationship between the two. It’s exciting to think that the Church might some day move away from celibacy as the highest of virtues and consider intimate love between a man and woman, in this case Jesus and Mary M. as such, one of the highest expressions of God’s love, the holiest of acts. To take seriously the church’s own definition that Jesus was both fully human and fully divine, means that you have to find room for Jesus to experience the love of a woman, particularly someone the caliber of Mary Magdalene. Could this over time evolve into an archetype for the new world, a spiritual, holy relationship, Jesus and Mary, an example of marriage at its finest?
The next afternoon following church, Kornelia and I ventured over to her mother’s house in Burlington where she lives with her partner, Arnie, to celebrate the real Father’s Day. Two years ago, Kornelia and I had attended a similar party in their big back yard. On that occasion, Kornelia had worn a long pink dress which became a subject of a poem and ultimately the name of my latest book “Pink Lady”. This year I was again engaged with some of the attendees but not inspired to write a poem about it. Kornelia’s short orange dress, as flowing and attractive as it was, did not prompt anything beyond admiration. This probably has to do with our being at a different place in our relationship. Kornelia’s found her partner. I’ve settled in as her editor and advisor. We’re still living together but not “hanging out” as much now as she becomes busier with her new radio shows and I with church and writing. It was good to spend time with Linda and Arnie and their close friends, a table full of us, under the umbrellas to protect us from the hot sun, enjoying an extended conversation. And, of course, mountains of wonderful food, raw vegetables with dip, cold soup with shrimp, bake beans, German potato salad, BBQ ribs and a lot of nibbles to go with the cold beer. Kornelia and I ended up talking with a newer and younger friend who was born and raised in Mexico City but by now has good command of English. Her passion is ballroom dancing which she does at least five nights a week. I remembered in fact dancing with her once at the Elk’s Club. She remembered me too, recalling the moment with a smile at how I’d been able to keep to the beat. I think we actually “Jitterbugged” which is now referred to as “East Coast Swing”. The Senora has raised for me the question of whether I want to get back into the dance scene. I’m not sure right now. Maybe once a week would be fun. Kornelia and I couldn’t believe we’d spent six hours there, departing at 9:00 PM with the sun still high. Summer Stoltice arrives in two days. Kornelia and I agreed, it had been a good day, spending time with her mother on her turf among her friends.