“It doesn’t matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was.”–Anne Sexton
The word serendipity usually conjures up images of inventors or scientists shouting “eureka” when they stumble upon some unexpected discovery. But serendipity–the so-called happy accident–has its place in art and life as well. On this second father’s day without my beloved dad, here is a story of fond remembrance that might make you smile.
It was the fall of 1967 and my father had just installed some custom cabinetry in our large family den. It was state of the art for the era: bookshelves, bar and a media center with a stereo and a color TV, the latter which he assembled himself from a Heathkit. He was, after all, an electrical engineer. What he never was, before or since, was an artist. But he was about to become one for just a brief shining moment.
The bar consisted of a fold down counter which revealed the spirits in the compartment behind it, and above it a cabinet with doors for glassware. The doors had clear plexiglass window panels, which somehow did not suit my mother’s taste. My father dutifully removed them to the basement, where he proceeded to spray paint them bright, solid colors. He replaced the panels, and was prepared to discard the plywood square that had been the drop cloth for the paint job. But our neighbor, physician and author Jack Shiller, just happened to stop by and call a halt to the demolition.
“Don’t throw that out!” Dr. Shiller exclaimed
“Put a frame around it!”
He did. And he entered it in a local art show. And it won an honorable mention prize; boy, were the judges pissed when they found out the story behind it.
Serendipity or not, I’m glad he was my dad and will love him forever.
Happy Father’s Day to all. Be sure to hug your dad if he’s still alive.