Oh Father, Where Hath Thy English Gone?

When online, my Dad communicates like an adolescent.
It’s as if at the ripe old age of 75, he no longer has the time nor the will to attend to grammatical, punctuation, or syntactical rules and norms.  To underscore my point, he’d have ended my previous sentence as follows “…forget ur syn-tax rules!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
This from a man who used to speak fondly of letters he’d read in Civil War anthologies, letters sent home from average soldiers who lay wounded, dying, or in any case with severe crotch rot.  Oh, how they’d just about break your heart.  How even the most simple and brutish among them could spin a woeful yarn evocative of a gentle soul, imploring Mary Anne’s and Molly’s across the great nation to wait for their fateful return, be they dead or alive.
This from the man who once asked of me that I become a writer, so as to preserve the language, to guard it from the unseemly forces that caused its degradation.  At the time, I was very much of an antithetical mindset, believing in the malleability and fluidity of language, and certain that so long as we were still communicating (as in “getting” each others’ “drifts” no matter how poor the prose) it really didn’t matter a whit.  Continue reading

Boys Don’t Cry?

When I was six, my grandmother on my father’s side passed away peacefully in the tiny bathroom of the modest home in which she had lived the bulk of her 77 years. Of my four grandparents, she was the only one I knew to any significant extent; I remember her consistent offerings of Nilla Wafers (always a tad stale), spinning tops on her pitted, brittle kitchen flooring, the smell of mothballs near the bedrooms, and the super futuristic rotating Christmas tree with fiber-optic needles that shone stunningly in red, green, and yellow.I was too young and insulated, though, to feel fully comfortable in this alien world. The house was old, as were Ann and her Nilla Wafers, and the tops were ‘50s vintage at best. Still, I could feel the palpable love and adoration my Mother had for grandma, but I could equally sense the measured, stony distance kept by my Father. He was there in body on those visits, but his mind by force or by nature was elsewhere. On these trips, then, I sensed three distinct feelings–the welcome of a sweet old woman, the encouragement of my Mother to embrace my extended family (something rare in our tree), and, that I was actively betraying my Father by siding in some sense “with the women.” So it was. And there can be nothing else. Continue reading