Last night, at the Homer reading night, we were joined by my dad. He actually expressed interest right from the start, but couldn't make it to the first two sessions. He did catch up using the materials on the Web page, and showed up, text in hand, last night.
I can't begin to put into words how special it was to have him here, among my friends, reading the Iliad with us. My dad was the strongest intellectual influence in my early life, and has everything to do with the sort of moose I grew up to be. He nurtured my budding interests, introduced me to Greek mythology (one memorable drive to Jerusalem, almost twenty years ago), gave me vintage-Hebrew youth literature when I was seven years alled, checked out books from the adult library for me when I got frustrated with the children's library, and knew the answers to all my questions, or at least where to refer me. He, together with mom, gave me my Hebrew, and kick-started my English, and my fondness for trivia and the Bible. His honesty and his work ethics were lighthouses I could always steer by. I could go on and on, but this won't help me express what was so special about the occasion.
Perhaps it was feeling that I was really giving him something back. Perhaps it was pride and joy in having for a dad someone who hasn't lost his intellectual curiosity, and doesn't have that "I've done my reading; now it's your turn" attitude I see in so many older people.
There was another special moment, before the Homer session began. My dad showed up early, before everyone else, including arnulf, arrived. I was busy preparing the stuffed mushrooms, and after pouring him a cup of coffee, I enlisted him to help with the preparations. Dad took out mushroom legs while I was preparing the garlic-and-butter paste, and then he cut up some onion extra fine, in his incomparable technique. There we were, father and son, in my kitchen, silently preparing food together, perfectly at ease. It's not that there usually exists tension between us or anything, but there was something special about that situation, that picture, nonetheless.
Ah, I just can't put it to words.