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6-17-07 - Happy Father's Day to all fathers and thanks to mine

Why have introductory comments on Father's Day when one can go to Wikipedia?

My father, Kelroy Chadwick, was born in 1903 I think. I just Googled his name and came up only with my mother's address and phone number in Fort Worth, Texas, because, in the old-fashioned manner, she still uses Mrs. Kelroy Chadwick as an official name. I called her up and asked about his middle name. Utley or maybe Utly  she said - I bet it's Utley. I don't even remember that name. She says he didn't like it. He also didn't like Junior. He never used it. He didn't like Kelroy either. Everyone called him Kelly. I didn't ask her any more about him because we got into me looking at the Google satellite image of her home, my old home. I could see white dots for the chairs on the patio. Also, I told her I wanted to interview her when she comes out in July and we could get various details down on her and Daddy then. Right now I just want to quickly say happy father's day and thanks to my father and get back to other vital tasks.

Kelroy was born in Cresson Texas not far from Fort worth. I remembered it as Crescent at first but that was near Houston. Cressen is a tiny town. I've been there but don't remember anything.  We never had any relatives there that I can remember. I remember once visiting my mother and the phone rang and it was a man doing research on Chadwicks in our area and he said that the Chadwicks were an important part of the town, that there was once a Chadwick's grocery store in Cressen and that some of my father's ancestors were buried in the graveyard there. He knew more than I did about my family. We've never cared about stuff like that. He knew where my father's grave was. I didn't. I was only there once - on the day of his burial when I was eleven.

My older son Kelly (named Kelly and not Kelroy) and I were driving by the cemetery where my mother's parents are interred and for the heck of it we stopped and went in to the mausoleum. First time I was there too since her mother died in early '88 just before I went to Japan. Their names were on the wall where I guess their bodies were put. I don't think they were cremated but I don't know. Kelly and I talked about going to my father's grave but we didn't do it. In my family we've just never seen any significance in where remains were put. We've always been into spirit so if I want to be close to someone who's died I just say hello to them wherever I am. Have you ever noticed how often people in movies go to graves? If people in general went that often, cemeteries would be crowded and need giant parking lots. The movies like graves because they're visual and without any dialogue they can convey that someone has died and how the survivor/s feel/s and all by just showing them at the grave placing flowers and staring wanly or being angry or whatever. But my family's not in a movie so we don't do that.

Not saying that graves or ashes sites can't be helpful symbolically. I go to Shunryu Suzuki's ashes site at Tassajara when I'm there. Of course it's a neat walk and what a great stone we've got there for him. My very close childhood friend Ward tells a traumatic story about visiting his father's grave for the first time as an adult - in his forties I think - and having a great release and sobbing and feeling something he'd never felt. He quotes Robert Bly on the subject. I do think of my father and feel that feeling of missing him now and then. I dream about him every once in a while. But my principal feeling is one of gratitude and  mainly when I remember him I think or say thank you.

The reason I say thank you to my father is that he was my first spiritual teacher. My favorite memory of him is his saying to me, "Davey my boy, you don't know how lucky you are you weren't taught to believe in God." The interesting thing about that is that he did talk about god - just not as an individual being - and we read the Bible, especially on Sundays, but we also read the writings of people who interpreted the Bible, mainly a man named William Walter. We were Christians in that we studied the teachings of Jesus, but the type of Christianity that we were into was what I would call non-theistic mind-only Christianity - the type that sprung from Emerson and Thoreau, transcendentalism.

I remember him saying things to me like that matter doesn't really exist and that the whole universe is just thought itself.

When he died, he left a letter saying that he loved us and our mother and that she should feel free to get remarried. He said he was leaving money to my sister and me (can't remember the wording but something like) to help us pursue spiritual paths and so we wouldn't be over-encumbered with struggles to get by. It wasn't enough money to support us but it has helped through the years. When I went to Asia for half a year four years ago just to wander around, my mother sighed and said how Daddy would have loved to have been able to do that and that I should remember and be grateful to him for the money he has left me (almost all gone now). I said that I would never forget that and am always grateful to him for the material support I have received from him, but that what I am most grateful to him for and what is of quantum greater value, is the spiritual (or whatever you say) path he set me on. I always think of him as my first spiritual teacher and of Shunryu Suzuki as my second. Not that he was a pedant. He himself was just a student of truth. We all were. I think of my mother and sister as fellow-students. But he was the first and, in Buddhist lingo, I'd say we picked up on his way-seeking mind.

More on him and all this later but that's enough for now except to say to all fathers, Happy father's day, and incalculable thanks to mine.

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