Truth is, my father's inheritence will allow me one of these paths, but not all of them. And so I'm struggling not to sing with angels anymore, like in the poem that I posted in September by David Meltzer. Instead, I am struggling to hear the thoughts of a ghost, a ghost I knew so well, but not enough.
1. My father wanted to be a forest ranger; he ended up an oral surgeon.
I wanted to be a poet; I ended up a teacher.
I could take my inheritence and pay for a PhD in Rhetoric and Composition. And a PhD would allow me to teach full time at any university across the country, allow me to do the thing that makes me happiest: teaching English composition.
2. My father was a great father. Not well understood by most, and often times, isolated from his family because he didn't want to be judged, criticized, or questioned. He hated confrontations and avoided them at all costs.
But he and my mother, despite all the codependency, somehow managed to parent me and my sister pretty well and I think I would make a great father too.
April and I deperately want a baby, but we don't seem to be fertile. This inheritence could pay all the fees and help us prepare our home (or trade up in a home) to adopt a baby. And what a gift we could give a baby who would have no parents, the pair of us who would love a baby so hard.
3. My father was a big game hunter and after he'd hunted the big game in the lower 48, he hunted the big game in Alaska, and after that, he went on to conquer African big game and Australian big game. I am sure, had he been healthier, he would have hunted other places.
We haven't been on a vacation yet. April and I have struggled to just pay bills from month to month. That's what you sign on for when both workers in a household work in non-profit.
I want to take April to Utah to show her where I grew up. Just like I want to see where she grew up (don't tell her though-I give her a hard time about being from the South). I want to take her to New York, Disneyworld, Hawaii-or someone tropical, Japan to see our godddaughter graduate, and Europe.
This inheritence would allow us to travel. All we need is the time off. I can get it pretty easily, but she's a bit trickier.
When my father died, a friend of mine provided some comfort to me be reminding me how much my dad loved and respected me by letting me be different than him. He learned early on that I would never be a doctor or a hunter and I think he suspected that I would wait to become a parent. And I always felt guilty for that, like I had let him down. And for a time, I thought his isolation was him punishing me for that. When I realized that he was letting me become a poet, and a lover, and a working class bleeding heart, I regretted the conversations I missed out on. And by then, he'd married, he'd collected some stepchildren and a huge group of friends, who just didn't let him be who he was, but took from him whatever he was willing to give.
His generosity was unlimited.
And I can pay him back for all of it by becoming the man I want to be. But is that a world traveler, a father, or a teacher?