Happy Birthday, Patrick

Patrick at Port Hueneme Pier

Today Patrick would have turned 84 so I wish his memory a happy birthday. In a moment, when I leave this keyboard, I’ll pour a glass of red wine into one of his old glasses, then raise a toast to his good health, the health he had for most of his life.

Two weeks ago I chopped away at some trees on the slope behind my house, and remembered how he helped me do the same several years earlier during one of his brief visits. The man was tough, even at that age, full of vitality, with a willingness to help.

It may be that I acquired a little bit of his willingness to help, something I now share with others, but I also took on a bit of his stubbornness too. He wanted things a certain way, and asked me to make it so when the time came. I’ve stubbornly fought to try and fulfill his requests, but it is difficult and unlikely. There are many cultural, familial, language and geographic barriers to overcome. I’m not giving up, but I’m afraid I will disappoint him.

Today too I lost my job. I went back to work last October, in part to pay for the expenses of his burial and memorial until I can recover those costs from the estate (if ever), and in part to get out of my own head and house where I had been consumed with thoughts of my father, the responsibilities he placed upon me, and my inability to fulfill those responsibilities. One could say that the job served its purpose and its necessity has passed.

Certainly, the loss of my job has far less impact than when Patrick lost both jobs and the car while trying to care for his young family in the late 1950s.

On the other hand, every action or event has some impact somewhere, just as he and I discussed on many occasions, and usually the impact hits the innocents the most.

I’m beginning to meander a bit, thinking about Patrick, which in turn leads me to think of John and Willie, and my mom too. I haven’t written much about my mom, but a friend has transcribed some recordings I’ve made about her. I’ll share those one of these days soon.

I’ve been working several hours each day on this web site, sifting through files (many duplicates) and choosing what to share next. I’m trying not to flood the dozen subscribers with too many postings all at once, so I’m queuing them up. I hope the things coming soon will entertain you, enlighten you, perhaps even inspire you. I know that some of them, most recently Watts’ 8 points of writing, have encouraged me to move forward with my own writing (to a very slight degree).

But first, I must pour una copa de tinto.

5 Replies to “Happy Birthday, Patrick”

  1. I think I’m going to watch “Four Last Songs” while enjoying the wine, since the story was loosely inspired by Patrick and Stephanie.

    1. A curious coincidence: the video ended as the mantle clock chimed midnight with the credits scrolling by saying “Special Thanks: Patrick Meadows” and “In Memoriam: Stephanie Shepard”.

      I recognized so many more places, people, and situations in this viewing compared to the other times I’ve run it through my DVD player.

  2. Cheers! And, perhaps you could stop thinking about “disappointing him”, and accept that his preparations were flawed, and not at all your fault. Guilt is a terrible burden to place upon oneself..don’t fo it!

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