Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ My Father

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Jun 21, 2010

Originally posted on Half an Hour, June 21, 2010.

My father passed away in 1998. I got a call from my mother. I asked what I could do. "Just come," she said.

I took the bus from Brandon through northern Ontario, overnight in the dead of winter, to arrive in a couple days and in time to be there.

I'm glad I was able to achieve some kind of reconciliation before he died. We were ICQ buddies, and would chat about all manner of things. I finally got to meet my father the tinkerer and inventor, rather than my father the father.

I had long known that this day would come, as he had been on transplants for something like 20 years. I guess we all know, in our different ways, that it would come.

After the funeral I gathered by brothers and cousins and we went to a bar in South Gloucester. And as I had long planned, I stood up, called for everyone's attention, and told them to drink a beer to my father, because he was a good man, and should be remembered.

My father's birthday was in June, matched up with Father's Day. My mother's is in May, matched up with Mother's Day. It's hard not to think as a child that this was all pre-arranged, when it works out this way.

But I don't think of my father on father's day. I think of him every four years, during the Winter Olympics, to commemorate that long dark journey through the cold and the snow. Knowing that there were many possible worlds in which I would not have made that journey, would not have met my father, would not have ever reached a reconciliation.

People who say the internet doesn't touch people personally know nothing.

(Posted as a reaction to Cogdogblog's post).

The only photo I have of our entire family, taken at my grandaprent's 50th wedding anniversary (thta's their white farmhouse in Clarenceville in the background). From left to right: Gordon, Allan, my mother (Beverly), my father (Bernard), Bill, John and myself (Stephen).

Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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