Father’s Day: Instant Retrospective

Father’s Day: I talked to my own dad, briefly–back in Chicago, which once upon a time didn’t seem like so far a distance. But he sounded good, and then Kate talked to him while we drove over to a brunch we’d been invited to.

The brunch: Our friends and neighbors Piero and Jill invited us out to Piero’s laundromat in East Oakland. The building has an enormous lot behind it, and Piero has turned it into an urban farm: olive trees, tomatoes, potatoes, corn, beans, peppers, zucchini, and some more exotic stuff. A few Lombardy poplars. Jill and Piero’s kids were there, and some other Berkeley friends and neighbors, and some of Jill’s family.

We were out there at least a couple of hours, then headed back to shop. Our son Eamon and his wife Sakura were coming up from the South Bay. The plan was a Father’s Day barbecue, preceded by a viewing of the last episode of the second season of “Lost.” We stuck to the plan. Our younger son Thom showed up after he was done at work, and just as I was starting to talk about coffee. That prompted Eamon and Sakura to tell me I ought to open the box wrapped in “Happy Holidays” gift paper that they had brought.

It was an espresso machine. Wow. I have thought of these as only slightly less exotic and difficult to operate than a nuclear reactor. But after a trip to buy some beans, I fired the machine up and actually managed to make some cappuccinos. Then we sat around and talked for awhile. Eamon and Sakura left on their drive back down toward San Jose. And I got ready to ride my bike with Thom back to his apartment in North Oakland. He had ridden over, and I grabbed the opportunity to go for a ride I wouldn’t have done myself this evening.

So we rode, mostly without any tangles with traffic. I’ll admit I rode partly because I’m still nervous about my grown-up kids contending with the streets of the big city. I saw Thom to his front gate. We talked for a couple minutes, then I turned my wheels back north to Berkeley. A couple minutes after I got in the door, the phone rang. It was Eamon, calling to say he and Sakura were back home. After we hung up, Kate and I took the dog out for his late-night walk.

Coming in just now, I had what I wanted most but would never have known to ask for on Father’s Day: the feeling that everyone I care about is happy and home safe.

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