Musings: In Memory of my Father

Detroit . Woodward Avenue, (Photo courtesy of Wayne State University Virtual Motor City Collection)

by LJ Frank

My father was born in 1918 a couple years before the Roaring Twenties

and at the end of WWI

his life was a struggle for in the early the early 1930’s

during the autumn of the year he stood in a bread line with his father

In downtown Detroit off Woodward Avenue

between deep breaths and the feeling of humility,

his father said to the son, “Humor and love are essential.”

Before WWII began he and my mother married finding each other

in Hudson’s Department Store and married three weeks later.

The 1940’s was filled with raising a family and being employed

by automotive corporations, from Ford to Chrysler.


A few decades later, I remember my father coming home,

turning on some music and opening a beer,

as my mother and he celebrated their life together

having moved into a brand new house.


Sometime during the late 1960’s

I remember discussing the events of the day

we talked for hours about human pursuits

and I shared my conversations with him

I had with a theologian

about the existential nature of existence

before I became a ‘missionary’ abroad.

My mother was there for him though not all things were rosy.


My dad and I had our disagreements, politically speaking

as we got older but agreed many other things from dogs to music

and he was there to pick me up when stranded.


After working and traveling to different places on Earth

I finally returned home listening to folklore, enhancing my knowledge

my father asked me what I thought

we shared translations of our journeys

with knowledge comes the realization how little we know

as fathers and sons do about the meaning of life…

and then my father became my best man at my wedding.


Different directions were pursued

I remember my father most in the things he cared about

laughing at the nonsense humans engage in

while retaining our sense of the tumultuous seas and

calm waters of a father and son relationship.


In the end we agreed in the spirit of Martin Luther’s thoughts,

that is, everyone must do two things alone,

our own believing and our own dying;

so we traveled our respective paths

understanding the blessings of ‘family’

and friendships made along the way

and that music was essential to the calmness of the heart,