Sunday, June 17, 2012

Reflections on resources and Father's Day

You can't order fruit salad for lunch anymore. It's no longer a menu item in the places where ladies lunch or executives gather.

From the time that I was very little, my Daddy took me out for lunch on my birthday. We went to real restaurants. Sometimes I wore gloves; always I wore my best dress and my best behaviour.  Most of the time, I ordered fruit salad. The good ones came with ice cream (the less-good had a scoop of cottage cheese in the middle).

In my work, memories like these are what we call resources. They are the experiences that remind us who we are and how good the world can be to us. We enjoy them whenever they come to mind, and we lean on them when the world is not good and we are not sure who we are.

Some of my favourite resources take me back to the family room in the house where I did much of my growing up. I remember sitting by the fire, keeping very still, while my daddy brushed the tangles out of my hair.  There is something quite wonderful about sitting very still and watching the flames while you feel the gentle, rhythmic tug of the brush through your hair.

There were winter evenings when Daddy played the little organ, some classical, some pop, and my favourites, the book of Duke Ellington songs. I would still like to be a sophisticated lady.  There were summer evenings sitting out on the deck and listening to the neighbourhood as the sky turned deeper blue, and finally became dark.

I remember standing in the kitchen as my dad explained to my mom that saying "oh shit" was a required part of learning to golf. And I remember walking under a hot, hot sun through the valley, knocking golf balls into the river instead of over it. Whenever I see an unzipped zipper on a golf bag, I hear his voice "Neatness counts."

In a few hours, much of the clan will assemble here for barbecued ribs and cake and we will celebrate Father's Day together.  We are a lively family and we love to celebrate.  There will be lots of talk and lots of food and lots of laughter.  Maybe we will remember all the walks we have taken together, family walks with the dog, or walks on beaches.  We are always going places.

Sometimes, it's nice to sit still and to go to the places stored in memories, the resources I can count on whether the world is sunny or dark.

Thanks, Daddy.

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