Father's Day


Have you ……….

“… thought of someone you haven’t talked to in a while, only to hear from them several days later?

… had a feeling that something was going to happen, and soon after it plays out exactly as you’ve imagined it?

… heard a song lyric on the radio or seen a message on a sign that coincided perfectly with what you were thinking?”                                                           (Credit to theuniverse@tut.com.)

What is going on when this happens? Have you ever wondered if, or how, your thoughts could possibly prompt someone else’s actions?

I am an identical twin so you would think our thoughts would be more prone to telepathic transmission, but that does not seem to be the case. Neither of us were aware of any pain when the other was in labor or surgery. As far as I know there has been no feeling of impending peril or, on the other hand, joy. However, we have similar taste and, despite living thousands of miles apart, more than once sent our mother the same card for a special occasion. Thank you, Hallmark!

Both my mother and my father died when I was just starting my career. I am now retired so you know that was many years ago. However, there are times when I distinctly feel the “presence” of one or the other of them. Sometimes it is prompted by a smell, sometimes a song, and sometimes by eating a particular dish or meal. I know that you can identify with that.

My Father

Whenever I hear or see a marching band, I think of my father. He taught instrumental music along with vocal music, social studies, math, or whatever the school system needed. He loved teaching, especially beginners, and seemed to have no trouble enduring the squeaks and squawks associated with students just starting to play an instrument. Even today, his students will tell me that they appreciated his patience and desire to help them understand. He would make time to help a student individually if needed.

As you can imagine, music was a huge part of our family’s life and my family’s entertainment revolved around music and the arts. Dad was a member of a community men’s singing group. He, along with my sister and me and my older sisters before me, played in the community summer band. My dad directed the church choir and both he and mom sang. Whenever requested, dad would play a violin or saxophone solo, often for a church service.

Our family life was happy, but dad could get angry and, if it was because of my infraction, I got a swat on my butt. But I cannot remember a single time that my dad raised his voice in anger to anyone in public. Maybe it is my choice to remember him as a “gentle” man, but I think others would agree. I believe my dad was content with his lot in life and I know that he and my mom had dear friends with whom they loved to get together. At those times, I remember my dad’s smile more than his laugh.

Dad was strict about controlling expenses and I did not appreciate that enough until I realized, later in life, the sacrifices he and my mother made so all five children could graduate from college. At the time, his rules just seemed like a pain! He worked long hours as a teacher – developing lesson plans, grading papers, working extra-curricular activities, attending teacher meetings and summer school, etc.—and he and mom always planted a big vegetable garden which fed us fresh vegetables, canned or frozen, for months.

My father was not perfect and there were incidents and situations that caused others pain. I do not pretend to understand, but I also know that the same will be said of me. That is not meant as justification. Our journey on earth teaches us many lessons. Some people learn and grow and try to do better, some never learn. Some carry the anger and pain with them to the end. It is a choice.

My Partner’s Father

I currently live with my partner, a man from my high school class, who I became reacquainted with at a high school reunion. We live with his father (Verne) who is over 100 so that he can live his final days in his home. Verne, too, was a music man, but in a different sense. When he was just a boy, Verne set a goal to become a cowboy singer on the radio. (Remember those were different times and radio was the primary means of entertainment.) Verne met and surpassed his goal—he wrote music, recorded, performed and, eventually, owned a radio station. He, too, will leave a legacy of music, as all his children and some of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren enjoy it and perform in some way.

Dad’s Legacy

When my father died, there was a song by Dan Fogelberg that was popular, “Leader of the Band”. Every time the song came on my car radio, I would start crying. Here are the lyrics:

Leader of the Band

Dan Fogelberg

An only child alone and wild
A cabinet maker’s son
His hands were meant
For different work
And his heart was known to none
He left his home and went his lone
And solitary way
And he gave to me a gift I know
I never can repay

A quiet man of music
Denied a simpler fate
He tried to be a soldier once
But his music wouldn’t wait
He earned his love through discipline
A thundering, velvet hand
His gentle means of sculpting souls
Took me years to understand

The leader of the band is tired
And his eyes are growing old
But his blood runs through my instrument
And his song is in my soul
My life has been a poor attempt
To imitate the man
I’m just a living legacy
To the leader of the band

My brothers’ lives were different
For they heard another call
One went to Chicago
And the other to St. Paul
And I’m in Colorado
When I’m not in some hotel
Living out this life I’ve chose
And come to know so well

I thank you for the music
And your stories of the road
I thank you for the freedom
When it came my time to go
I thank you for the kindness
And the times when you got tough
And, papa, I don’t think I said
‘I love you’ near enough

The leader of the band is tired
And his eyes are growing old
But his blood runs through my instrument
And his song is in my soul
My life has been a poor attempt
To imitate the man
I’m just a living legacy
To the leader of the band.

My dad’s legacy, his love of music, remains in all his girls. We chose different roads but all either directed and/or performed vocal or instrumental music. Some still do. Two of his grandchildren chose musical careers and for others of his grandchildren music was, and still is, an important part of their life. Likewise with his great-grandchildren.

My sons, as the song says, heard a different call. One chose to be a health/safety leader in an environmental remediation company and the other chose to be an aerospace engineer in a spacecraft design program. I am proud to be their mother and equally proud of the beautiful grandchildren they have given me. Both are wonderful fathers and I salute them and the role model their father set!

To my sons, to my partner and his dad, to the father of my children, and to all fathers everywhere—Happy Father’s Day!

~Beverly J Bowers, CFP® 


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