The past few weeks have been the perfect storm. It started with Memorial Day. Then came the D-Day commemorations, and a slew of articles and remembrances. Then came Fathers’ Day.
My father didn’t participate in the D-Day invasion, but his unit—the 86th Infantry, known as the Black Hawks—was one of the few to see combat in both the European and Pacific theatres. They saw action in the Ruhr Pocket, were among the first American units to cross both the Rhine and then—after they were moved south to Bavaria—the Danube. The Black Hawks were also among the last American soldiers to see action in the Philippines, rounding up Japanese soldiers who refused to surrender up until October 1946, over a year after the Japanese government surrendered.
Dad passed away almost exactly a decade before my writing journey began, and just a few weeks short of his 75th birthday. On this year’s Father’s Day, he would’ve been 100.
All through the events of the past few weeks, I’ve been pondering and tinkering with a revised opening for my trilogy. One that heavily features my protagonist and his father, and their turbulent relationship.
So yeah, it’s been impossible to avoid thinking about him.
“It’s Not My Thing…”
My dad was a man’s man. It wasn’t just that he’d been in combat, he’d played fullback when helmets were leather and had no facemasks. He was an excellent golfer and participated in a half-dozen leagues. I was a kid who quit every sport I started, and who read Fantasy/SciFi novels and kept his comic books sorted by subgenre.
Although my dad never belittled my love of Fantasy/SciFi—in fact, he was always generous at the book store, pretty much buying us whatever we wanted—he was more of a non-fiction reader. You know—serious stuff.
I remember bugging him until he came along with me to see the first Star Wars in the theater (it may have been my third or fourth viewing). He laughed a few times during the picture, but I kept my hopes guarded. Sure enough, in the car on the way home, when I dared ask what he thought, he said something like, “It was all right. But you know that’s not my thing.” I did.
He was a man’s man, yes, but a kind man, too. And a gentleman. And he was outgoing. My dad seemed to know everyone in town, and everyone liked him. I thought the world of him, and always sought his approval. Until I didn’t. [Read more…]