Friday, January 30, 2015

January 30

Today is the 85th birthday of Gene Hackman, an actor I’ve always enjoyed. Years ago, a friend told me my dad reminded them of him very strongly – and, though there is no physical resemblance in their looks, I’ve always remembered that. Hackman has a gruff voice yet warmth that does indeed have some similarity my dad’s presence.

Today is also someone else’s birthday, someone else who loved my dad.

And in less than two weeks, it’ll be the anniversary of the day he died. It will be twelve years now, and I won’t be obvious about how it all feels. Only this: when we were bereft of him, I came to understand ancestor-veneration, something so many cultures across the world have shared, but which is considered almost unseemly in our own. Only this: I am incapable of not measuring the lives of others against the span My Father was given. Wilt Chamberlain died younger. Gene Hackman is several years older, and still with us.

It’s not a contest. But it’s impossible not to measure, when someone is cut short. Impossible not to think about what the real dad would have been like at seventy-seven. Impossible not to want, still, to talk with him. To think, “I bet if he were alive, I’d have pushed harder on my book; it’d be published by now.”

Gene Hackman is a historical novelist, did you know?

Today is also Friday, it’s pay day, and tomorrow I have a date for Girls’ Night Out. I’m looking forward to a good weekend; even if, right now, I am indulging a very Lush Case of hormones indeed.

Happy Gene Hackman’s birthday (or Charles I’s death day – or Balthild’s day – or whatever you prefer)!

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