Our Dad has been probably the most even-keeled influence in our lives. Growing up, I think that’s the thing that has worked into me the most. My brother and I grew up without too many extremes in that regard – never way too angry, never way too sappy. It’s something I hope to pass on to our kids as well, with my own twists and feelings of course, but still tempered with a steadiness that, like I said, I think we get from Dad.
On this weekend when the news of Tim Russert’s way-too-early passing is taking up an honorable amount of bandwidth and screen time, I am struck by how many folks are genuinely and positively reflecting on his life. His life as a son and as a dad, and then as a mentor and friend to colleagues and pundits, is inspiring, too. There’s a steadiness in his manner that made him one of my own Sunday morning favorites on Meet The Press.
But Sunday afternoons are still for Dad, at least in my mind today. We all get together for lunch at Mom’s after church, with her in the kitchen fixing fixin’s for an army and Dad on the grill out back, working some newly discovered recipe or experimental technique with the meat and sauces and whatever catches his fancy. It’s his playtime, his "hey, let’s try this". Open to honesty, I can tell my dad when the merinade just didn’t work this time – and I hope he knows that when I say it’s really good that it’s really really good. Most of the time, it’s on the really really good end of the taste spectrum, and we take it in stride, still even-keeled even when it comes to cooking and such.
For our birthdays, anyone in the family can pick a favorite meal for Sunday lunch. Mine lately has been "whatever you’ve seen that you want to try next" – and so far, that’s been my favorite, whatever it is. I want to pass along that even-keel, that sense of adventure tempered with reality, and that enjoyment for good food and trying new things.
Happy fathers’ day to you and yours – I think we’ll be enjoying lunch at Mom’s. If you don’t have plans, let us know – call ahead if you’re coming.