Sunday, June 16, 2013


Regular readers already know that we lost my father last year.

Well, we didn't actually lose him, we know right where he is, but you know what I mean.

This post is not meant to elicit sympathy-my father had a good, full life of eighty-five years, and was all there in health and mind right up until the last couple of months.

This will be my first father's day without a father. I spent a lot of them thinking "shit-gotta remember to call Dad!" as if the phone call was a chore.

This year I wish I could call him. Turns out, the phone calls were an opportunity , or maybe a privilege.

Anyway-don't take you fathers (or mothers, for that matter) for granted.

You only get so much time with them.

If you're not speaking, pick up the phone and mend the fence.

If you haven't called in a while, do it!

Most people probably think of "Cats In The Cradle" when they think of a father-and-son song, and that's a good one. So is Cat Stevens' "Father And Son."

But I've got another one I want to feature today.
I always loved the song "Watch Baby Fall" by David Bromberg.

Even though I never got married and had children of my own, I'd always thought the hardest part of parenting had to be knowing when to stop protecting them and letting them fall on their own, and David just NAILS that emotion with this song.

If youi've never seen David, I'd suggest trying to catch him while you still have the opportunity. His last album, Use Me, is a masterpiece, and he's got a new one on the way in September.

"Watch Baby Fall" 
by David Bromberg

When Tommy was born he was the light of my life
My own little baby boy
And I could hardly believe that one little soul
Could fill up my life with such joy.
You know how it is when a kid learns to walk
When he stumbles he'll just sit there and bawl.
It was hard it was sweet as Tom found his feet
Just to be there to watch baby fall

They grow up way too fast, and Tom was a scamp
He wore more band-aids than clothes.
Tom had more ways of skining his knees
Than any six children I know.
Well he chased me away
From his brand new two-wheeler
When I tried to coach him and all.
So I watched with pride as he learned to ride
And I winced every time he would fall
But I stayed there to watch my child fall

Tom didn't like school much, and he ran with a crowd
Just how boys get in their teens.
He might have been wild, but he still is my child
And no one could say he was mean.
Well it was Tom who got caught
When the boys robbed a rich man
And Tom took the heat for them all.
The judge thought it best to send my child to jail
And I could do nothing at all
Except to stand there and watch my boy fall.

Tommy's full grown now, I guess he's a man
Found and then lost a good wife
He's drinking real hard and not gettin' much work
But Tom don't want help or advice
We still shoot the breeze, and I'll buy him a drink,
But that whiskey tastes bitter as gall
The most God-awful thing that I've done in this life
Is to stand there and watch my son fall just to stand there and watch my son fall

You can't learn for them and you can't take their pain
You just stand there and watch your child fall
You just stand there and watch baby fall.....


Thanks for always being there, Dad!

Here are videos for the other songs I mentioned...




  1. You are so right about Occasions! Why do we say things like, "Can't forget to call Dad today? Or can't forget to call Mom today?" It feels like this big ole chore. Then when they are gone, the entire day feels like this Gaping Wound. Why don't we have enough foresight to appreciate those days for what they are? Wonderful opportunities to reconnect with our parents, particularly if we have let time lapse. If we haven't, that is okay, too. It is still a good time to just say, "Hello. I appreciate you."

    I am sorry to hear that you lost your dad. I am glad it wasn't one of those long drawn out painful things. AND that you had plenty of good years with him before he died. So many people don't get that. My dad and I were always pretty close, so I feel like I was pretty blessed.

    Never heard your Feature Song before. Yep. I think it pretty well sums up how people feel about parenting. Even if your kid doesn't end up in jail, there are plenty of painful paths they can wonder down that will have a parent wanting, possibly even trying, to intervene. However, everyone has to fall down all by themselves. It is how we learn. My favorite line: We still shoot the breeze, and I'll buy him a drink,
    But that whiskey tastes bitter as gall. Classic.

    1. I love that line, too Robin-on the one hand, the narrator is sad about the state his son is in, but on the other, he's enabling it!

      As to your first point....I guess that's why there's that "don't know what you've got until it's gone" saying...

  2. I tried to watch the videos but these other jerks in the house all had their gadgets on so I couldn't. (Too many electronic devices for our signal.) It's always the same story here. That's why "I Gotta Get Outta This Place, If It's The Last Thing I Ever Do. ...There's A Better Life For Me And I."

    Anyway, nice post. Never met your Dad but I believe I'd have liked him. Any man who would stand face to face against the devil's authorities to support the Truth he knew, well... that's a "Man" (capital "M").

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    1. Stephen- I think you would have liked him, although I could see you guys going head to head on Biblical interpretations! But I think you would have both liked that.

      I think he'd have liked you as well. While your dogma may have been different (he was a strict Catholic, to the point that he never ate meat on Fridays in his life) you would have been in alignment on the things that were important.

      I have a theory on roomates, Stephen....speak softly and keep a riot gun handy for when you need the internet signal.

  3. Wow... And so true. I have been blessed and privileged to have a son who's done a lot more standing than falling.

    On a side note, that first verse brought a good memory- my son's first steps. He didn't realize what he was doing until he looked over at his mom. Her eyes got big, then so did his. She started to cry, so did he. Then he fell. Me? I laughed at both of them.

    1. CW-well I hope you never have to see your son make the mistakes the character in the song makes, I'm sure there will be enough times you'll have to let him fail and it will probably break your heart.

      But I guess it goes with the territory.

  4. I'm not familiar with David Bromberg but I love that Cat Stevens (sorry, Yusuf Islam) song.

    I'm fortunate that my father lives only about 15 minutes away from me, so I see him and my mother about once a week, even just for a quick visit to say hi. I know it's something I'll appreciate when they're gone.

    1. I lived real close through my early 30's, but the last twenty years was in AZ while they were in Philadelphia.

      I like living in AZ (sorry, Mr. McCarthy-even with all the nitwits, I like it) but I do not recommend moving so far away from family. It is definitely a price you pay.