Ode to my Father
Ode to my Father:
He was a physician, a psychiatrist – a bright and complicated man with
a great love of family, the arts and the harp. But in his heart of
hearts he was a gentleman farmer. He loved nothing more than to
putter around his property, taking the tractor for “a spin” or hiking
down to the pond to feed his swans and koi and chase off interloping
mallards and raccoons. He kept sheep, tended to sick and rejected
lambs every spring and added bells to the necks of some ewes so he
would always know where they were. The tinkling of those sheep bells
is an enduring memory. (As is the streaming tail of a peacock roosting
in the tree outside my bedroom window on summer nights.)
to mention, each breed with its own stories and all named and part of
his flock. We helped Dad as best we could -sometimes
enthusiastically and sometimes not – with the possible exception of
bottle feeding baby lambs in a box in my parents’ bathroom, with our
mother taking the after midnight shifts.
In later years when we were older and wiser we worried along with our
mother over his tendency for high adventure and tried to curtail his
solo “spins” on the tractor on steep hillsides or to pull stumps out
of the pond. He suffered many injuries over the years as a result of
this abundant enthusiasm, but he was never bowed.
It was a sad day when the tractor had to be retired permanently to the
barn. Once or twice he rode down in his gator to “turn it over” for
old times sake, hopefully respecting the family edict to not climb the
6+ feet up to its seat.
So this is a pictorial ode to my father and some of his favorite
things – the simple outdoor ones that gave him freedom and joy and
allowed his heart to soar.