Thursday, September 26, 2013

Windows, Sins & A Catch of Roses

I am nothing if not a slow study.  Truth be told I am as much my father's son as I am my mother's.  It is not the Kennys, Joan and William, Sr., about whom Springsteen sings in "The Wish", when he sings:

If Pa's eyes were windows into a world so deadly and true
You couldn't stop me from looking but you kept me from crawlin' through....

But it very well could have been.  My father was a man of tremendous abilities and talents.  Managing and maintaining an interpersonal relatioship with one closest to him - such as those of us attached to him by either blood or marriage - was not among them.  It was a shortcoming that I viewed as a deliberate failing in him - right up to the point in time when I recognized it in me.  Then, and only then, did I become a slightly less tyrannical grader.  Had such recognition occurred in our mutual lifetime we perhaps could have chatted about it.  It did not.  Thus we did not.  Hell, we are Kenny men.  The likelihood of us ever having had such a conversation is slightly less than my brother Kelly getting elected Pope.  Only slightly but still.

As fathers go, I reckon I was - and to the limited degree they still need me to be I remain - a reasonably good provider.   We lived neither in luxury's lap nor anywhere on his person for that matter but we never actually wanted for what we needed - even when the children were little and my first full-time lawyer job found me working for a small firm in Plainfield where the two name partners spent whatever little time they did not devote to ripping off the world at large - including those of us who worked for them - to stealing from one another.  A hell of a life it was - living from one "Theoretical Pay Day" to the next.  My wife is tiny but her ability to stretch - and to stretch a dollar - proved unmatched in the annals of recorded history.  I know not how she did what she did but right up until I awakened to the fact that Happiness was 705 Park Avenue in the rear-view mirror she managed to figure out how to throw enough dollars in enough directions for us to keep the lights lit, the home fires burning and ourselves protected 'neath a roof and four walls.    

It has taken me a long time to awaken to the fact that being a good person is measured by something above and beyond simply the work one does.  That more factors into the equation than how skilled one is at what it is one does to earn his daily bread.  In a life chock full of regrets, I regret that dawn did not break in this regard until neither of our "children" was a child any longer.  I suspect that I would be in far more photographs had it broken more promptly.  On the other hand, both Suzanne and Rob were such good-looking kids that it would have seemed a shame to have pockmarked otherwise excellent pictures with too many views of my Jupiter-sized cranium.  If Life shall afford me the opportunity to be a grandfather, then I shall do my level best to ruin far more photos with my oversized head and half-assed smile. 

So it turns out that the Poet Laureate of Freehold has been right all along.  It ain't no sin to be glad you're alive.  While I certainly have had my moments - and have self-produced enough drama to fill at least four nights on any network's Fall schedule - now that dawn has broken my focus has shifted.  What used to be at best a secondary consideration for me has become one of paramount importance.  Home is much more than an address.  It is a goal.  It is a destination.  It is an elixir.  

I wish that it had not taken me most of my life to figure it all out.  I wish it had not in fact been such a long time coming.  But it did.  And it was.  At last, it is here.  And I am damn glad I made it long enough to bear witness to its arrival....

....and in plenty of time to catch the second act.   


-AK

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