Since father’s day was last week, I thought I would take this opportunity to introduce you to one of our frequent commenters; a loyal and unwavering supporter of the blog and our real life endeavors, our dad, Norman Ross Powers.
Ross, as he’s preferred to be known for many years now, happens to be one of my favorite people, ever. I feel pretty lucky to have a father I admire and respect as well as love.
Introspective and thoughtful, he has a subtle, dry sense of humor and is astoundingly compassionate. I adore that upon seeing a friend, he will (seemingly effortlessly) remember exactly what they last spoke of, asking a pertinent question or two or three….a skill that completely escapes me, having a mind that more closely resembles that of the goldfish played by Ellen DeGeneres in Finding Nemo.
One of my earliest memories is of the bike he rebuilt (it must have taken hours of secret work) as a surprise for me. Painted a searing yellow, he had covered the elongated seat in a metallic silver vinyl, the whole affair just screaming BANANA bike.
When our mother went back to school for nursing, dad was in charge in the evenings. That meant fewer rules and more shenanigans. My favorite game was one in which he disappeared behind our silver grey velvet couch with the oiled paper umbrella my mom had picked up in China town, transforming it into the spiky spine of a roaring stegosaurus, causing us to dissolve into fits of fearful and joyous giggling.
He loved a good school project or a halloween costume; we used to joke that he got more excited about them than we did, making them ever more elaborate and creative. I wish I still had the little witch’s castle we made out of a Quaker Oats box as part of a book report in 6th grade.
He was an avid photographer (and still is, on his last visit to New York he shot, printed and put together a beautiful bound book of black and white images of the trip), has dabbled in metal work & sculpture, is a great cook, a witty writer.
After I moved back to California from New Zealand in my twenties, I lived with my dad and his wife Michela while I was getting on my feet. We had dinner together every night, comparing notes on our day and seeing what we could check off of the list I had made for myself: open bank account, get job, buy car, rent apartment.
Even after I moved out I went over often. One night, heart broken after a break up with a boy friend dad hugged me and listened to me cry for awhile and then briskly cleaned my tear-stained glasses, poured me a stiff brandy and sent me off to bed (best parenting moment ever).
In my thirties, rattled by our mom’s death and with the move to North Carolina on the horizon, I insisted that we agree to keep in close contact, making a weekly phone date. We’ve stuck to this schedule ever since, and I think we both look forward to our regular chats, which remind me of those dinners years ago.
I’m most often compared to my mom, whom I look like, and who also sewed. But when I look at my dad, I see a good dose of him in me as well. At least I hope I have some of his integrity, sensitivity and delight in the world.
Happy belated father’s day dad!!