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Monday, February 16, 2009

Shadows


'Happy Birthday son. Your eighteen today. how's it feel?'

'Thanks Dad, OK, I guess'

'You Guess? What the hell kinda answer is that?'

'It's just that I have been doing a lot of thinking'

'About what?'

'My future, and what my life will be like, where it's going to go'

'Son ,it will go where you take it. It's the choices that you make that will determine it's path.'

'Yes I know, But will it be as interesting as yours?'

'I'm not sure I follow'

'What I mean is, will it be as well traveled and respected as yours is?'

'Did I teach you to honor your family and friends through thick and thin. Also did I teach you to give a hard days work for a honest days pay? Always keep in touch over the years as time and distance intervene?

'Yes'

'Then I don't see the problem'

'Well it's just you cast a long shadow'

'I do? How so?

'Your bro's respect you. And ladies love what you represent. You have story's enough to carry a normal person's lifetime.'

'So , What I'm abnormal now?' Where's this line of talk coming from? Do you think my life's unusual? It just depends on your perception of it. Whats normal for me isn't necessarily be gonna be normal for you. Nor' would I want it to be, And neither should you.'

'You get along so well with most people. I don't think I have that skill.'

'Say's who?.

'Say's me. Even my brother talks more like you and even act's alot like you.'

'That's his skill, you have yours. Your brother is like me in some ways and in a lot of them he isn't. He is himself...And so are you. And you have more of me in you than you think. With additional skills I can never hope to have.' I wouldn't want a pair of "Mini Me's".'

'But Dad, the things you have seen and done. I could only hope to have even half of that kind of life. I'd die happy.

'That's funny I used to think the same thing about my father.

'You did?'

' Hell yes, He lived through the depression. Went to war in a B17 bomber in a belly turret. Shot down a Focke-Wolf. Received several medals for bravery. Got the DFC with 4 oak leaf clusters.

Went to Korea as a Infantryman. Saved 2 wounded GI's while dispatching the enemy with his sidearm. Traveled all over the world, was written about twice in the Stars and stripes.

Raised a family and started a new successful career after retiring from the service. I could go on and on.

'Now, That's a huge shadow to follow.'

'Do you think that anymore?'

'No I don't' I realized that his is just a different shadow. Thanks to Ann. I see that my life although vastly different...Is in a lot of ways very similar. Looking back I fought battles that took just as much courage to get pass. I didn't have bullets being shot at me from a 50 cal.

But I've had my own close calls with death. And dead is dead no matter how it arrives.

And travels? I saw things that grandpa could only imagine. same as me for him, and will be for you.'

'You really think so?'

'No I don't think......I know. You leave for active duty in the military tomorrow. Correct?

'Yes'

' Do you honestly believe your life's gonna be boring? After all....You are my son.
Your shadows gonna dwarf mine I'm sure.

'Since you put it that way. I think not.

'Happy birthday Son'

'Damn straight it is'

17 comments:

Arizona Harley Dude said...

Big D, it is only once the young man steps out of your shadow that he really sees the strength and depth of that shadow. What you've taught him over the years has already shaped who he is and given him the foundation to construct his own shadow.

God Speed to your son as he goes into adulthood and begins to cast his own shadow. Also, a prayer, and a huge THANK YOU, as he begins his military experience.

Congratulations to both of you for sharing with us.

IowaHarleyGirl (Stephanie) said...

Your shadows gonna dwarf mine I'm sure.

That is such an awesome choice of words. You've got a way with them for sure, Big D!

Jocelyn said...

Awesome. And tears. Beautiful.

Ann said...

I would just like to point out that this son turned 18 nearly 6 years ago. He has since been to Afghanistan, Germany, England, and is now deployed to Qatar. His shadow is looming large, and growing every day. :)

Dean "D-Day" said...

Wow. I hope that something I said to my kids along the way was even half as insightful as that.

Good words full of wisdom D.

aaroneousmaximus said...

as always, well written and introspective. nice piece.

aaroneousmaximus said...

as always, well written and introspective. nice piece.

FLHX_Dave said...

That was a trip. I was just telling someone how in my eyes my father is larger than life, then I sit down and read this. Sometimes I wished I would have listened more.

What pains me more so is that my son, 15, is 400 miles away. I don't get to have daily interraction. I call every couple of days and ride down every few weeks.

My biggest fear is not to cast any shadow. Some of it is my own doing, some of it not. If my son even sees me as half the man my father is then I will be a lucky man indeed.

Nice BigD, very nice.

WooleyBugger said...

Awesome, simply awesome. What more can I add

Willy D said...

Very inspirational.

Lady Ridesalot said...

How beautiful! I realize that a father and son relationship is probably the biggest thrill for a man. But, I treasure the fact that my dad also had a great relationship with his daughter. Me! :)

Great post Big D. You can tell your children love and respect you, and that's worth all the gold in the world.

John Ashford said...

I'm going to have to give copies of this to my 5 boys to read. Very touching.

Ride on,
Torch

"Joker" said...

Reading this reminded me of some of the things I learned from my old man, and some of the talks we had. I'm not going to get into specifics here, because this is your story, not mine. Suffice to say that it made me remember, and I thank you for that. He'll be gone 10 years come this July. I'm 43, and I'm still chasing his shadow...

KT Did said...

When I read this I was in tears...in a good way. You are an inspiring soul to your son and vice versa I am sure. What's that saying: "Like Father Like Son". Serves the purpose here.

Ann said...

You have been awarded a Fabulous Blog Award. To pick up your award go to http://annnelson.blogspot.com/.

Ann said...

You have been awarded a Fabulous Blog Award. To pick up your award go to http://annnelson.blogspot.com/.

Mr. Motorcycle said...

You have such a way with words. We'll just leave it at that.