I’m on the elliptical at the club and the news clip shows a bloody and ugly scene from yet another suicide bomber from one of those places that is and isn’t so far away.
And there’s a man who stands out from the crowd, who somehow looks toward the camera, a bearded and rotund man with a face that in another time and place could be from The Old Man and the Sea or maybe be Hemingway himself.
He’s anguished and bewildered and lamenting the terrible loss all around him. And he makes me think of my father.
There is too much of Opa Froese to write at the moment, too much about his own losses and recoveries, except to say that I found this sort of thing happening much more when I had first left home years ago.
I might be in a grocer and a man would come by and grab, say, an apple, and I would notice something about his sandals, or the way his hair curled on his forearm, or the specific scent he carried, and I would, without even wanting to, think of my father.
‘Has that ever happened to you?’ my sister would say on the phone, describing those similar times when she would turn and almost say something to a complete stranger after hearing a voice that she surely thought was our father’s.
This is how it is for many of us, really. A father can be many things, including an unexpected association.
Maybe this is what it means when it’s said that the sins, or the blessings, of the father can extend from one generation to the next to the next. Even when we don’t particularly look for any sort of continuing influence from Dad, it follows us as surely as one step follows another as we walk down the road of life.
We are also told something else: honour your parents so that you will be given a long life.
Maybe this long life comes because, whether they’re around or not, in one way or another, we will always continue to live with our parents. How much more, then, I hope that my own children will find good moments to return to.