Sunday, July 25, 2010


I Am My Father’s Son.

Dan Hill sang those words from his heart at the Orillia Opera House Sunday evening. There was some "hurt" in his lyrics. Some remorse. Confusion. Anger. Then joy.
He wrote a book- using the same title, about his Father.
It seemed to be a cleansing.

It was a wonderfully warm concert- extremely emotional at times. I found my eyes moist more than a couple of times. Tears trickled down my cheeks. It was a journey through Dan’s collection of hits both new and old-
Can’t We Try.
Sometimes When We Touch.
There's more on his latest CD or vinyl- if you so choose.

He shared thoughts of his father and read from his book. Personal enough to be read out loud to a person or two- but the entire Opera House is another matter altogether. He held us tight in his grip. We listened and understood. Dan Hill is a man who waited a lifetime to hear his father say simply- he had misjudged him.
It was a moment he will not soon forget.
The same can be said for those in attendance at Hill’s Concert.
It was a concert that only could have been better if it had been staged outdoors under the stars and the full moon. I don’t know why but at various times during the concert I found myself looking up longing to see the stars. If only the Opera House roof were re-tractable.

I too discovered I Am My Father’s Son.
Not during Dan’s concert- although chords struck home. No, with me it’s been a gradual process. As I get older I see, feel and hear a lot of my Dad in me.
I look at my hands and see my Dad.
I may notice the way I stand. Familiar. Like Dad.
Things I say. Short-tempered at times.
Opinions I make.
Moods I am in.
I had to wait until a few days before my Dad passed to hear him say- “I Love You.”
It was during some special one-on-one time my Dad had with all of us while he was still coherent and feeling as well as could be expected. The words “I Love You” may have been something I heard more as a kid but certainly something I never heard in my teen years or as I moved through 20’s, 30’s or my 40’s. In written form the words may have been expressed on a birthday card or written on Christmas Tag, on a gift, under the tree. It would be attached to something he had gone out and bought me on his own.

I have a Christmas card he sent to his parents during the war. It was simply signed-
“Your son, Walter”.

I remember one summer I was suffering from an extended bout of depression. I had had some problems in my twenties but the worst time of all came as I was nearing 30. I had to take medication and the Doctor had told my parents that I shouldn’t be left on my own. I didn’t live at home at that time but the Doctor told me in no uncertain terms-
“Rob, either you have someone with you all the time or you go into the hospital. Decide now.”
I decided to go home. Eventually, I stayed with my cousin for a while. I can never thank her enough for all she did for me.

While still at my parents, I stole away to the privacy of my car- a Volkswagen Bug, parked in their backyard. I extended the seat back and started to read a book. I’m not sure how long I had been reclining on the front seat reading but all of a sudden my Dad came up to the window to check on me. I guess he noticed I was missing.
He scared the shit out of me!
He had every right. Again, instructions were I was not to be left on my own. Not that I was going to do anything in the way of harming myself.
I never did get to that point. Thank Goodness!

I had just chose to grab a bit of privacy there in the backyard- in my car. I was relaxed for the first time in a long time and I was just enjoying some space and time, knowing I was finally going to be looked after.
I was finally not having to deal with the problem alone.
I wasn’t trying to hide the problem. This was in reality “stage one”.
Of course, the bigger problem I was hiding was that I was a “Gay” man- but one step at a time. I had to be comfortable with that myself first. The “Gay” thing would eventually be addressed- in the months to come- and be a life-changing experience.

By the way, after I made that decision I never suffered from extended periods of depression. There were “tid-bits” of time where I felt a little low but never the extended emotional rollercoaster that I suffered that summer or in the years leading up to that time.

Today, there is great comfort in seeing my Dad in me.
I would like to tell him-
“Look Dad. Look what you left behind. I Am My Father’s Son.”
He knows.
Like Dan Hill- neither of us could be more pleased.
Have a good one.