The day was spent preparing for the birthday party of my father. He turns 70 on August 1 and since mom and dad are in town, it was a perfect (and rare) opportunity to celebrate with him. The disappointment he felt last week when I told him we wouldn’t be able to drive to Tucson next weekend wasn’t visible tonight when he entered the house to banners Sophie hung, two huge mylar balloons, handmade cards and a crown Soph constructed out of printer paper. Buying any gift for him has become more and more difficult as the years go by. The man has everything he’s ever wanted. I wound up buying him the recent autobiography of Benjamin Franklin and a collection of Artie Shaw’s best music. He seemed genuinely excited about the Shaw cd. In fact, he told me (as we were listening to the music) that he’s always preferred Shaw’s clarinet playing to Benny Goodman’s. I guess that thirty minutes I spent wandering through Barnes and Nobles scarce music department was worth it.
Reading over the liner notes of the Shaw cd, his life seemed very fascinating. He gave up his music career at his peak to become an author and was more interested in furthering his mind than furthering his pocket book. Wouldn’t that make for an interesting film someday? How many stories about intellectual clarinet players who dated Billie Holiday can there be? I wish I could write it and film that story for my dad. Add that to the growing list of stories I wish I could accomplish for him. Here I am, 37, and I’m still trying to please him and make him proud.