Sunday, June 16, 2013


Today I distributed my Father's Day piece from two years ago entitled “Dad” to the usual suspects.

The best thing I can say about my Dad, is not only that he was a great father, but that he was a great father in spite of himself. I cannot ask more of a man than that …

One of them posted the link thereto, and I got over 500 visits today, which is about as much as I get in about four days -- weekdays, mind you. (H/T to New Advent.) C S Lewis once said he wrote the things that he wished others would write. I try to do likewise. Most writers will compose either a glowing encomium or a bitter screed. Neither would do justice to my father's story, so I simply wrote the truth. He was an imperfect man, who only reached perfection by Grace, in a life that just as easily could have turned out much differently, but for a decision made at an early age. A pedestal would have been too much even for him.

Since that time, he has passed into eternity, so here's what happened next.

Feb 20 2012: Paul Andrew Alexander (1925-2012)

Feb 29 2012: The Long and Reverent Farewell

Mar 05 2012: Random Thoughts on a Requiem

Mar 21 2012: A Month’s Mind

Feb 20 2013: Altare Privilegiatum

That's my Dad in the picture to the right, from his days in seminary. He would have been eighteen-and-a-half in the spring of 1944. By this time, he would have already received tonsure (the ritual cutting of a lock of the hair, symbolizing admission to candidacy), allowing him the privilege of wearing the cassock outside of ceremonial duties. He would leave the seminary two years later.

Closer to the present, today's homily was about fathers and fatherhood. As master of ceremonies for the Latin Mass today, my place was near the celebrant, which included being seated near the pulpit, so if I had a problem keeping my composure, it would have been hard to miss.

Meanwhile, my son decided to post his own tribute to his dad.

My dad's greatest gift to me in the past year was conceding, at last, that I'm smarter than he was at my age and am on track to lap him soon.

… which is not quite what happened. I should explain.

My son recently graduated from the über-prestigious Savannah College of Art and Design, with a BFA in Interactive Media and Game Development, and a GPA of 3.4. Thirty-five years earlier, I graduated from an equally-über-prestigious program at the University of Cincinnati, with a BS in Graphic Design, and a GPA of 3.0. I simply pointed out that he did better than I did, which is even more remarkable when you consider that his high school GPA was … well, not so remarkable. But somehow, possibly from the after effects of an alcohol-and-drug-induced adolescence (so it's not really his fault, you see), this observation was embellished to take its present form.

So, we'll be having another one of those little talks when he gets back to DC next month. You see, you never stop being a father, especially when some punk-ass kid never stops being a little twit. But he's my little twit, and I love him for it.

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