Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Only The Shadow Knows (Nostalgia Ahead)

My dad had a small house and when my sisters and I would stay with him I had to sleep in my dads bed with him.  Other than the snoring I did not mind and we would listen to the radio as we would fade into the static of sleep.  On Sunday nights we would listen to replays of old time radio shows like The Shadow, Boston Blackie, Rocky Jordan, X Minus One, Johnny Dollar, Duffy's Tavern and I could keep listing and listing but I won't.

They would play two episodes from two different shows and they would follow along from week to week until the storyline had finished, there were some stand alone episodes but most were shows of that time were serial in nature.  Even before the TV it was still about ads and they wanted everyone to tune in each week to hear the ads.  Before Orson Wells had the Mercury Theater Playhouse it was the Campbell's soup Playhouse.  The preceding has been a side-note brought to you by my wandering mind, thank you and remember to tune in next week and remember to buy blue coal, it is colored a harmless blue color at the mine so you know you are getting the finest in Pennsylvanian Anthracite.  That Last bit is from memory, but I think it is pretty close, Blue Coal sponsored The Shadow which was one of my favorite shows.

In a lot of ways my dad was a hard man, he was a child of depression for better and worse.  When I was a child, my dad didn't say he loved me and we did not hug or kiss, but me and my dad would go to sleep listening to old time radio and it was good and it was warm and fuzzy and Norman Rockwell could have painted it for the over of the Saturday Evening Post.

My dad bought an old trailer home and put it out on some property he had in Skull Valley Utah.  There was no electricity or running water, but it was a significant upgrade from a tent.  The whole family would go out there from time to time, but as me and my siblings got older that time to time became less and less for everyone but my dad and I.  We did not initially have a TV, but my dad had an old short wave radio we would listen to the radio and play cribbage by the light of some camping flashlight and I am sure that Norman could have found some inspiration there.

My childhood was pretty shitty.  It was shitty enough that even with pseudo-anonymity that this forum provides I will probably not document the shit of it for the world.  I may put shit to paper in twenty years or so but not now.

Why the juxtaposition between the Norman Rockwell moments and the ambiguous shit moments that I speak of?  I am aging and I think I am aging at a pace that is faster than most.  The sick are quick to age, not quick at much else but definitely quick to age and as I speed away from the day my dad died I remember everything about his life as it wrapped around mine.  There was good and there was bad, I have to be careful here because I think I am slowly writing a bad Paul McCartney song, but as I age, I find myself missing my father and looking back at the good times with my father with nostalgia and the bad times are there but they are in the background like a poorly lit scrim with some out of focus gobos.

I see people focus on the bad and become bitter and unhappy, I see people deny the bad exists and live in constant fear that they will be forced to remove their heads from the sand and then there is what I have done.  Is my way the best?  Only The Shadow Knows.

I thought about ending it there, but it seemed like a cop out so here is a couple more lines...

I have denied and I have been bitter and I have focused on the good and become nostalgic about my father and I am happiest being nostalgic.  I am still saying prayers for my father in purgatory because I have not forgotten the bad, but hell he is dead and nostalgia is fun (as long as it is not some hipster being ironic, I still wish I was well some days just so I could punch me a hipster or two).  I have nostalgia for a bit of the ultra-violence as well, but that does not belong here, so remember nostalgia is mostly good, especially about people from your past.