My Father's Western

Blast from the Past

I originally published this on Live Journal a couple of years ago. Someone commented on it recently and I thought I'd repost it.

Give my dad a weak cup of coffee and a crossword puzzle, and he was a happy man. He'd work on the puzzle while watching TV, in mid-conversation, even at the dinner table if he could get away with it. It was his retreat from the mayhem that is family life.

He had hearing problems dating back to his service in the Navy. Being half deaf myself, I sympathize. Sometimes it's easier to retreat than to try and engage in conversation when you can't hear it properly. I'd drift off into other worlds, making up stories in my head. Dad escaped into the daily crossword puzzle and his books.

I've been thinking of Dad a lot lately for a couple of reasons.

One reason is perspective. It's been three years since Dad died and I can now get beyond the grief of losing my parent. It took me about three years to be able to reflect on my mother too. About that to write about losing my sister, then my Aunt Yang.

Lately, with the publication of Under A Texas Star, I've been thinking about all of them and how much I would have liked them to see my book. Mum and Aunty Yang would have been proud, and Joanne pleased--no matter which of my books got published first. I think Dad would have been tickled that it was the western.

Dad introduced me to Louis L'Amour and Zane Grey in my teens. He loved Maverick and Bonanza on TV, and John Wayne's cowboy movies. In his later years, when too much noise and violence upset him, he'd bury his nose in western romances. Under A Texas Star would have been right up his alley.

But first he'd have to finish the daily crossword puzzle.