In the spirit of Guru Purnima, the Indian festival to celebrate spiritual teachers, I offer something I wrote a couple of weeks ago for my dad's 70th birthday.
While I question a lot in life, I am sure of two things, my father adores me and he believes in me. He always told me, “You are capable. You are a capable person and not everyone is.”
I remember visiting my dad at work a lot at Disney. I played on the Burbank lot lawn and ate in the commissary, a rare experience for a kid. I spent a lot of time being quiet on soundstages. I got to bother the effects artists and play Doom next to them while they worked. I sold the most Girl Scout cookies sale every year because my dad put my picture and the order form next to the water cooler. My dad was the Jefe Grande and I was spoiled! When I moved to Santa Barbara to start junior college I had no idea what I wanted to study. I was just glad to get my own place and take classes. My dad helped me move and gave me his art history text books. “Just take one class, you’ll like it. And I bet they’ll use these books.” Sure ‘nough, I completed my masters degree in art history in 2012. I still have those books on my bookshelf at my home today. When I was gearing up to transfer to a four year I had planned on going on a tour of the East with my dad. Of course I got jury duty, and my father went anyway, videotaping campuses and taking notes. “Hey Hil, you probably wont like this one, too many cows.”
I remember beating his ass at rollerblading hockey in the back yard. We’d turn milk crates on their side and use a tennis ball. I mostly won because I could skate better. He taught me how to shoot a basketball even though I was two feet tall.
One of the best times I had with my dad and in life in general was traveling through Mexico at the end of my summer studying there. We took the bus (it was a fancy bus) to Mexico City from Morelia where I was living. We went to Frida Kahlo’s house and he was patient with me as I got out of line to go take a picture of the feral cat. We went to see the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe and I embarrassed him again, this time for using flash on the painting when it was clear we weren’t allowed to. We went to the Teotihuacan ruins or (Teoteeeewakan as he says it) and climbed half way up, took pictures, and went back down.
My dad taught me a lot of things. He taught me to throw spaghetti at the fridge door to see if it’s done. He taught me to go to a museum whenever you have free time in a city. He taught me to appreciate craftsmanship. He taught me to not take a picture with too much headroom. He taught me to appreciate good cinema. He tried to teach me to drive but it made him too nervous.
The one thing that is wonderful about my dad is his photography and videography skills. He records things he loves. Therefore, my early life is thoroughly documented. He went to every play, recital, Christmas pageant, whatever. He complained about the other parents, but he was there.
He claims to “not like kids” but you only have to see family photos of my childhood to know that’s not true. Someday Luke and I will be parents, and my dad will make the best Boompa.
Dad, I am proud of you and I am proud to be your daughter.
To my dad on his 70th birthday.