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My father, who was a permanent deacon for over 25 years and who died five years ago today, would have said of the Pope and the Church studying the history around a women’s diaconate: “Of course women should be deacons. Should have happened forever ago. You’re going to study it now? Just do it. It’s the right thing. S#!t or get off the pot.”
He had a way with words.
Seems to me that, when someone has died, people have a tendency to say “Man, what would grandma have said about this?” or “Uncle Jake sure wouldn’t have believed this, would he?”
As I considered Dad today it occurred to me that, in all my reminiscences and thoughts about him, one thing I rarely (if ever) do is wonder what he would have thought about something.
I might say I’m wondering about it. I might venture “What would Dad have thought of Donald Trump?” I might ask “What do you think Dad would say about the Rockies this year?” I might offer aloud “Would Dad have liked where the kids decided to go to college?”
There are a great many things I admired about my father. I’ve written about them pretty extensively in the years since he died (in a eulogy, on Fathers Days, on these anniversaries). One of the things I admired most about him, and it’s something I appreciate more on reflection than I did in the day-to-day moments of living with him, is how straightforward he was.
I don’t mean to suggest that Dad constantly shared his opinions on any and every subject with any and everyone who would listen. Quite the contrary. My father could be very quiet. He could be reserved. He didn’t need to always be the center of attention though he liked attention when it came his way.
Dad was quiet and still with those he didn’t know well. He could be amazingly quiet, actually. Some equated his silence with wisdom and, wise as he was, he was pleased to let people consider him something of a sage.
He was something of a sage, though when the sage is your Dad, you know more about him. His family got to experience a little more than the silent treatment.
With family and close friends, Dad wasn’t always quiet and he didn’t spend a lot of time hiding his emotions. When something bothered or delighted him, the reaction would color his face, change his expression. When he believed something, he would say it. When he was pleased, he would laugh, annoyed, he would say why, angry, he would emote. When he thought someone or something foolish, he would tell you why. He would tell you in no uncertain terms.
The older I get, the more I admire him for this.
So I don’t wonder what Dad would have thought about too many things that have happened since he’s been gone.
I can hear his voice in my head, and his comments always start with “My man,” which is what he would call me at the most serious junctures of my growing up, when I had made errors, when I took the risk of a new job about which he was skeptical, when I told him about The Cinnamon Girl, the woman I would marry.
“My man, we’ve got a lot to talk about,” he said one night when I came in well after curfew. The summer following that night was a long one.
“My man, I hope they don’t screw you,” he said when I took a new position. Spoiler alert: I got screwed (at least I think I did).
“My man, you make each other happy,” he said of my impending marriage and it wasn’t an observation, it was a directive.
Though I hear his voice in my head, though I know what he might say on a great many topics (Trump and the Rockies and his grand kids), it would be quite nice to hear him say it one more time.
“My man,” he would say…