Sunday, December 16, 2007


(1 hour drawing, 5:30 to 6:30 a.m. -- 6B pencil on heavy weight, medium tooth surface, 9 x 12 Canson drawing pad)

For the Christmas before my father died on St. Patrick's Day in 2003, he gave me some money to buy myself a present. Inspired by George Harrison's ukulele playing on his final album, Brainwashed, and learning that George had dozens of ukuleles around his house, I used part of the money to buy myself a ukulele in honor of George Harrison. When I visited my father on his 89th birthday, the last time I saw him, I brought my ukulele and played him a simple 3-chord tune in my goofy not-a-natural-musician style. My last visit with my father was peaceful. It seemed that whatever had been the problem between us was resolved. We had dinner in the assisted-living community dining room. He introduced me to his friends. I felt that he was proud of me, something I didn't usually feel. After dinner we watched an interview on TV with Elvis Presley's ex-wife, Priscilla. As I was leaving, he said, "I'll see you in the spring."

From "Pisces Fish," by George Harrison:

". . . and the river runs through my soul"

See One Word, Miracle.


robin andrea said...

Nice story about you and your dad. I remember reading about George and his ukuleles after he died. Interesting that you were inspired to buy a ukulele. Do you still play it?

am said...

I do play it. Not very well. Not all that often. There are lots of chords I find impossible to play. I love the sound of a ukulele. My ukulele is made by a company called Applause. It is easy to tune and stays in tune for a long time.

The Dream said...

Love your drawing - and reading of your last visit with your father. It is SO good that you and he were able to move beyond things. I have had this similar experience with my father. Within the first year of my sobriety, my Dad was one of the people at the top of my amends list. The timing was right. Prior to his stroke, he and I began a wonderful relationship and I heard over and over again that he was really proud of me ... and proud that I decided to follow my dreams and become an artist (rather than a lawyer, which was part of his original plan). Life is good.

am said...

You and I have much in common, dream. Good to know that your Dad let you know how proud he was that you followed your dreams. My father, too, had a stroke, although he died of congestive heart failure.

One of my memories as a very tiny child is that after I said something while I was playing on the floor, I heard my father say to my mother, "She's going to grow up to be a lawyer like her grandfather." When I heard those words from my father, I frowned and thought, "I don't want to grow up to be a lawyer."

As I understand now, my grandfather's deepest dream was to be a writer, not a lawyer. He died four months after I was born. Maybe it's a stretch, but I can imagine him having a blog if he were alive today.