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Posted by on Aug 23, 2017 in Inspiration and Living, MUSIC | 0 comments

DREAMS OF A FATHER

The title is a play on words of Obama’s book but the title conveys a human concept present in all our lives. To lead off this discussion, I will use a YouTube of Judy Collins singing “My Father”. Some of you may be old enough to remember when this song was popular. Most of you were once children with Dreams of your own, and some of you were parents with dreams for your children. Follow the lyrics as you listen to the Dream of Judy Collin’s father.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0qM95epNxY

My father always promised us
That we would live in France
We’d go boating on the Seine
And I would learn to dance

We lived in Ohio then
He worked in the mines
On his dreams like boats
We knew we would sail in time

All my sisters soon were gone
To Denver and Cheyenne
Marrying their grownup dreams
The lilacs and the man

I stayed behind the youngest still
Only danced alone
The colors of my father’s dreams
Faded without a sound

And I live in Paris now
My children dance and dream
Hearing the ways of a miner’s life
In words they’ve never seen

I sail my memories of home
Like boats across the Seine
And watch the Paris sun
Set in my father’s eyes again

My father always promised us
That we would live in France
We’d go boating on the Seine
And I would learn to dance

I sail my memories of home
Like boats across the Seine
And watch the Paris sun
Set in my father’s eyes again

My own father had his own set of dreams. He was a professional baseball player in the NY Giants minor league system. Yes – the Giants used to be in New York. Making it to the Majors was his life long dream. Then WWII came and like many of the men his age, he enlisted. For obvious reasons he wanted to fight the Nazis. However, once the military understood his baseball skills, fighting was not to be. Every branch of the military fielded a baseball team and the men involved would tour the various bases, playing a game against the Army, Navy or whomever was located there both in America and overseas. He was told he was part of the morale booster effort.

As fate would have it, one military branch did not have enough men to properly fill a team. So instead of the Army, he was shuffled off to the Coast Guard to tour and play ball for their team. He had a great time, playing baseball against a whole slew of ex- major leaguers who spent the war doing the same thing as my father. When the war ended it was back to the minor leagues. Pay was absolutely horrible back then, if you were good pay was at best $100/month – not like today. By that time, he was married and had a first born son, me, born in 1944.Still he could not, and would not give up his dream of the Major Leagues until August 1946. He left the Knoxville Smokies as a result of a telegram telling him his son was seriously ill.

Upon his return to Minneapolis he looked at his son, encased in an Iron Lung, and his dream and his dream for his son died in his eyes. He knew he would have to be a responsible man and take a regular job to support his small family. Thus my father became a Greyhound Bus Driver full time, something he had done part-time in the off seasons. Another son and two daughters came later and his second son was a klutz when born and remained that way. My father’s athletic ability had been invested in me but I was unable to make the most of it because of polio. The hundreds of hours I spent practicing the forkball taught to me by my father’s friend, Elroy Face, was useful but would never be enough. My lack of running speed made me vulnerable to bunts and grounders to the right side of the infield where I had to cover first base. As my High School baseball Coach would tell me in those rare instances where I had to bat “ hit a home run or strike out, I don’t want you dragging your ass around the bases”.

As Life marched on I came to an uneasy peace with my father. He was a good man but dead dreams are a cancer on the soul. I knew he did not blame me for the death of his dream, but I had a very hard time as a youth not blaming myself and asking G-d a billion times “why”. I finally understood that Dreams are a destination and whether you get there or not, the journey will yield a thousand times more experiences, joy and understanding than reaching the destination ever will. For once you achieve your dream, what else is there in Life?

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