I listen to Conservatives on TV being labeled as homophobes or racists or stupid and watch as they flinch, then start falling all over themselves to deny it. And I cringe.
My Dad had a rule about this – think whatever you like just but never disparage anybody except to their face and then only if they’re male and bigger and stronger than you are. Then you’re on your own. He had the same rule about fights – fight all you want with whoever you want just as long as they’re male and bigger and stronger than you are.
He was a good guy and died from FDNY line of duty medical issues in 1968. One of my sons recently asked what unit he was with – it was Ladder 122 and before that for many years Engine 250, both in Brooklyn. Checking my memory I went on line and found the following site:
It lists all of New York City’s Fire Department line of duty deaths and when scrolled down and I came to his name – Harry L. Miniter – the years since vanished and I missed him dreadfully. Above all the way in which he was all about liking or loving things or people and not about disliking them. Which is maybe a third, much more important rule he never put it in words, just acted out.
So in honor of him I’d like to list some of the things I like and love (aside from family because I don’t want to sound too sappy):
Old barns and stone walls in the woods, the sound of a stream rushing over rocks, autumn days, people doing things really well, a good turn of phrase, children playing on the grass in the late sunshine – waiting to be called for supper, a deer standing twenty feet away stamping a hoof and blowing of trying to frighten me, the way a Pickerel hits your lure right next to your leg, Marines trooping the colors, good whiskey with a friend in front of a wood fire, factories as the lights come on just prior to the first shift starting, red bricks, good coffee, fresh crusty bread, hellfire and brimstone homilies, the King James Bible, prime rib, insulting a French tourist (assuming of course that they’re male and bigger and stronger than I am), bales of hay in a freshcut summer field, the golden ratio, shadows creeping out from the forest at sunset, red tractors, bakery smells in the city, fathers taking their little daughters into the voting booth with them, the sound of a Spaulding bouncing, baked macaroni made from scratch, challenging thoughtless authority, telling a doctor’s receptionist to have the doctor fill out the seven page form virtually identical to the one he had me fill out two months before, fresh paint, polished brass, a child walking home reading a book and libraries.
And I’ll do my best to keep thinking these kind of thoughts Dad. For you.