JUNE 15, 2014




So anyway, this weekend the Island suffered Father's Day and many of those who admitted to being Fathers suffered as well.

Those who had fathers that were both living and not reprehensible did the usual father's day activities. Mr. Howitzer, although not to his knowledge a father, and lacking a living exemplar holding that status, nevertheless held a garden party on Sunday, inviting people from his sphere of influence.

The Blathers arrived with the senior Blathers from both sides of the family. The Cribbages brought Mr. Cribbage, Grand Pere, and of course there was the very elderly Mr. Dudgeon, fetched from the Retired Mariners Home.

Dodd had the Depuglia brothers build a temporary ramp out of plywood so Mr. Dudgeon's wheelchair could be brought up on the deck.

Mr. Trumpet, Amelia Blather's dad, thought all of Mr. Howitzer's estate to be very fine, but he wanted to know where were all the dancing girls. "What kind of party among men is it without floozies? You gotta have booze and floozies if you want a decent party. Who is that man there?" He waved his cane at Dodd, who was setting out the tapas trays. Mr. Howitzer said that was his manservant, Dodd.

"Dodd, you look careworn. Perk up and get me a gin and tonic in a highboy; that will make me feel better. Go easy on the tonic my boy. I have a right to live high on the backs of the hoi polloi now that I am retired. After all it was me that gave all those weasels their jobs at the Snoffish Valley Trumpet Works back in the day. Then they go about setting up these gosh darned unions, the ingrates. Fetch me a tall one, boy!"

"These kids today . . .", began Mr. Dudgeon. "They don't know what work even means." He rapped his cane firmly upon the boards of the deck.

"Now, now," said his nurse, Ms. Primm.

Dodd sighed and dutifully went to fetch the drink orders.

Over at the Household, times being hard and the wallets thin everybody who had dads had to look to themselves to occupy the day. Suan, who could afford it due to her job at the Crazy Horse Saloon, took her dad out to brunch at Kincaids with a nice view of the marina. Tipitina and her father went and got drunk at the Lucky 13 on Park Street.

Father's Day, being something of a lesser entity than Mother's Day, allowed Andre to get off easy with an hour of ball catch with little Adam before heading out to the Exploratorium together for a fun few hours observing lasers and the ever popular dissection of a cow's eye.

Out on the Cove, Father Danyluk gave not much thought to the day as he tossed his line again and again, other than to idly consider the topic for the next sermon, but as the line went taut and the rod bent, thought better of the idea as one more suited to consideration than actuality for himself. The day had been rife with fatherly things, including a visit to the confessional by Imbecilla Cupkake, whose family he had always imagined to be Baptist or at least something of Presbyterian, but nevermind.

"Bless me father, for I have sinned," began Imbecilla. "And I really enjoy it!"

"Uh, how long has it been since your last confession, my dear child."

"O ages and ages! I just love to sin and sin again!" she said in her sweet, little girl's voice.

"Well you know Satan loves to deceive us with . . . wait a minute, are you Catholic at all? Shouldn't you be talking to your own pastor?"

"I'm not catholic exactly, father. But Ireally like sitting here in the dark and listening to your voice. . . ".

"Are you prepared to be forgiven, child? If you are not, this is not the place for you."

"But i really like sitting here listening to a man's voice in the dark and taking off my clothes and . . .".

"O for Pete's sake. Sister Bernard! Come here I need you . . . !"

"Hey, wait father! Don't go away! I haven't finished sinning yet . . .!"

On reflection, it did seem the girl needed some kind of paternal guidance. Something a bit more concrete than the Heavenly Father. That and some medication. Praise god, he might have to invite his friend Pastor Nyquist for dinner if his luck with stripers continued today ....

In the Old Same Place Bar all the men who had endured badly cooked breakfasts and tawdry gifts of ties, stickpins, and cologne that would never be used and hardware knickknacks of more curiosity than use collected at the brass rail to ease their pains. Fatherhood, after all, is not one of those estates that earns a lot of respect by Nature or anyone else for that matter. So you had a hand, so to speak, in making something -- who cares? Certainly not that wayward teenager always getting into trouble and wrapping stationwagons around telephone poles. It's not like you carried this thing around for nine months and then went through a wracking several hours of partuition. Most of the time, you were standing around, pretty much as you stood around for the next 18 years, pacing back and forth and writing check after check for expenses. The viagra and cialis are for those who just have not figured out that Nature has done with them. Their part is finished, so now go sit down.

Papoon and Babar, political opponents in most things every election time, raised their glasses together to toast the men depicted in the framed photograph of Mount Rushmore, for more than four score and seven years ago somebody did something founded in liberty and conceived with the notion that all men are created equal.

As night fades through the fog draped alleyways and dripping box elders of the Island, the Editor wraps up the half-way point of the year's issues, updating the last year's stories and doing a bit of nip and tuck here and there, as any doting parent would do for their child.

Island-life has become a large, unruly child now approaching 16 years of age, which every parent should know is a time of trouble and exhileration.

Box elder bugs and moths bang against the window glass as he looks out into the yard on this cool summer night. "I have brought into the world such a thing now strange to me, thankless, angry, and foreign, and yet my legacy to remain of all I have done on earth. Is this not what it means to be a father in this time?"

Then, from far off across the water came the ululation of the throughpassing train as it trundled from where the gantries of the Port of Oaktown stand glowing with their sentry lights, letting its blues cry keen across the waves of the estuary, the riprap embankments, the grasses of the Buena Vista flats and the open spaces of the former Beltline, through the cracked brick of the old Cannery with its leaf-scattered loading dock, quavering among its ghosts and its weedy railbed, moaning between the interstices of the chainlink fences until the locomotive click-clacked past the shuttered doors of the Jack London Waterfront, headed off out of shadows on the edge of town to parts unknown.