Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Father's Day to All

Dear Ol' Dad in October 1962, 4 1/2 years before I was brought forth into this world. Leon is now known in our family circles as "The Ancient One, Blesséd be He." He's really only freshly 68. Dear Old Dad is retired, sort of. An Angeleno since 1982, he acts, performing on stage in the L.A. area, as well as in an occasional commericals and industrial films. Here's a head shot so you can see how gracefully he's aged:

Dad is a grand old father, blesséd be he. When he and my mom split in 1970, he saw me move with her to Hawai'i. As a father now, I can see how that must have been tough for him, to see his only child whisked off across the continent and then across an ocean (he was in Albany then). So he was a Summer Dad. He remarried once, moved to Illinois, and then remarried again to my step-mom Donna (Happy Birthday!), who with Dad, brought forth two more Cohens, in the form of a younger brother and sister.

When I went to college in the mid-1980's, 'twas not cheap, raising two young 'uns and helping pay the tuition. Pops not only worked full-time for Cal State Dominguez Hills as an administrator, but he also served a stint working for the L.A. Times for several years, rising at 2 AM to drive a paper route in the crazy, hilly maze known as Rancho Palos Verdes. That was a huge sacrifice that I have not thanked him enough for, one of those stories about fathers doing for their children what they themselves cannot fathom doing for their own kids.

Dad has always been a great supporter of me and my poetry. One of my first published poems, "Anger," a poem about the 1992 riots in L.A., received many more readings thanks to his posting it up at work, where other educators passed it along to others as well (an act that prompted me to copyright my first batch of poems).

He has made an occasional appearance in my work and survived a multiple bypass operation last year. We saw him last December/January in NYC, to celebrate his and Donna's 25th wedding anniversary.

And although I do not see him as often as other adult children see their fathers, I know I am in his thoughts and he in mine, even though our schedules and the time difference does not promote regular bi-coastal communication.

So, as we celebrate father's day today, here's to my Dear Old Dad, the Ancient One.

Blesséd be he.

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