Saturday, October 21, 2006

Across Generations

By Keith Fisher

Have you ever sat down to write something and you know exactly where you plan to go with it? You get into what you’re writing and suddenly a thought comes that’s much better than your original thought? That’s how this blog came to be.

Many years ago, my father and I had an adversarial relationship. Perhaps the word is too extreme but I was a wayward son and he was doing his best to keep from cracking my skull.

Sometime after my senior year in high school, he somehow discovered a better way of dealing with me. It brought us closer and we became best friends. His loving the sinner, not the sin approach made me realize I could be a part of his family even with all my problems.

For many years we had long "bull sessions" where we would talk about hunting and fishing and cars. When I came back to church, we talked about religion. After I got married it turned into gardening and greenhouse techniques with a little hunting and fishing added. In 1986 Dad had an accident on the job where he fell 90 feet, hitting solid objects on the way down. He almost died and I had to come to grips with what I would do if I lost him.

He made it through, but he had to retire from his career as a welder and old age is gradually setting in.

Now his major problem is an eye condition that has left him unable to see well enough to hunt, he can’t tie his own hooks onto his fishing line, he pulls weeds by feel and he asks me to come and weld for him.

As we are fond of saying in the church, the Lord closes a door but opens another. Dad has been given a blessing: He signed up for a service that sends him books on tape and he sends them back when he is through. In the few years since he signed up, he has read more books than I ever have. When I come home from a writer’s conference, I tell him about the new author friends I’ve met and he orders their books.

Now we talk about literature and what I am writing, the plots that I am developing, the problems I am having with a character, and we critique other writer’s books together. Recently we took a car trip and listened to a book he was currently reading. Through all this I have been aware of what was happening and I just wanted to express my gratitude for our evolving lives.

We now have a new way of being best friends. Our "bull sessions" have continued and the sharing means a lot to me. Literature has a place in our society but for me, it keeps me close to my father.

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