BRUCE AND HIS BABIES
On the evening of April 26, 1998, wrapped in my mother’s arms, my dad quietly let
out his last breath and died in his sleep.
With those extra years that were gifted to us, I got to see my children love my
father and I got to watch his patience and kindness toward them. I got to see them
mourn my father’s death. My dad loved the sea, spending hours at the shore, staring at
the water, admiring the boats. When my parents lived in San Francisco, he had a small
boat he bobbed around the bay on. At his wake, my children approached his coffin and
laid on his hands his “captain’s” hat. It was one like the guy in the Captain and
Tennille used to wear, a child’s costume, a totem of an unlived life, of desire
unattained. It served as a shield to cover my dad’s beautiful, rocky-shaped, now nearly
bald head and as a symbol of an imaginary commanding manhood and masculinity my
pop always felt was just out of reach and under siege.
I understood that hunger. For me there’d be no captain’s hat! Just “THE BOSS!”
Bulging muscles, judo and the lifting of thousands and thousands of pounds’ worth of
meaningless objects every . . . single . . . day, until I finally brought my father the
physical presence he’d been looking for.
Months later, in the evening twilight, returning from our local video store with my
children, out of the blue I mentioned my father’s death. The car went silent. I peered
into the rearview mirror and saw my young son and daughter, mouths wide open,
crying, but no sound had come out yet. Then, like thunder delayed after lightning,
“Whaaaaaaaa . . . you mean the guy in the captain’s hat?” It felt so good watching my
children cry for my dad. As we pulled up to the house, they ran inside, still bawling.
Patti saw me follow in behind with a smile. “What happened?” “It’s Pop, they’re
crying over Pop.”
Adam raised a good daddy