What Kind Of Person/Father Are You?

I am lost somewhere between the place in the photo above and wherever this version of Purple Rain is taking me.

Thinking about what I imagined it would be like to walk through the twilight spaces between life and death and remembering days when I looked for death himself.

The great search and adventure to ask that bony dude to grant me a favor. Memories of figuring that if he wouldn’t give it out of good will and grace than he might do so because he needed a respite from the beating I would give him.

That is part of the story you didn’t get to read in A Flickering Candle. There was only so much time and just enough space to try and show you the thoughts of a man, father and big brother.

You might ask if I feel like I got it done, if I did what I said I would do and I would say maybe.

That is the problem with looking backwards, you forget about everything that was going on during that moment in time and look at it with the knowledge and experience you have since gained.


Lover You Should Have Come Over is playing, the Natalie Maines version that is, and I am thinking that a man like me should have been given the gift of song too.

I have some ability for writing, some talent that I work at developing and nurturing so that it becomes greater than it is.

But I can’t sing worth a lick and if you were to turn the pages here you’d find the post or two where I wrote about how I learned that song and I are not natural friends.

You’d see how I got the lead in a school play and how I remember the audience laughing hysterically every time I tested out these pipes.

Most days I don’t care about something that happened decades ago, but sometimes there are moments where it touches a nerve and I wonder why I care…now.

Moments where I ask myself if my face has turned red and think about how that moment in time impacted me. Did I learn from it?

Did I take it and do something meaningful and important with it or did it have a negative influence upon who I would become.

Should I wonder and or worry about whether my children might have such a moment and be concerned about its impact.

Do I spend too much time lost in thought, thinking about what was or is that ok because I also think about what is and what will be?

If I could sing I’d want that kind of powerful voice that would make people feel something. I’d want you to be happy, sad or angry.

I’d want you to feel the force of my words hit you like a verbal hurricane, one that leaves you amazed and or exhausted.

What Kind Of Person/Father Are You?

I ask myself to answer the question because it is important to me to be able to know I am the one  I want to be.

You can call it pride, arrogance or ego and I won’t care because the answer to the question is part of the core truth of a person. It helps us stand tall and walk through the days.

And when the storms comes and they will come, it provides the foundation that helps you keep going.


The music is still playing and Sheryl Crow is singing something about not being able to look at some guy while she lies next to another one.

I am nodding my head thinking about all the people I know that have split up and found new partners.

Thinking about how we didn’t talk about divorces, parents dying, lay offs, foreclosures and all of the other stuff that life has laid at our feet.

Some of us had all of it but only a few have had none of it, at least thus far because when we grew up we knew life would be different.

Knew that it would be different because we were different, we were Generation X. We were children of the seventies who played outside unsupervised until it got dark.

We were the kids who managed ourselves far more than people realized. Some of us still had moms who stayed home with us and some of us didn’t.

Hell, some of the best times I had were hanging out at Tommy’s house. His folks were divorced and his mom worked so we always knew that when school ended we had a safe place to hang out.

Fridge had food, he had an Atari and no mom or dad to tell us what to do.

I still remember the time his mom showed up early and chased the girls out of the apartment but she didn’t let me leave.

Took Tommy and I aside and laid into us about treating women with respect and said then lectured us about being smart enough not to get girls pregnant before we were ready to be dads.

We were 14 and I wanted to crawl out of my skin. I had kissed a couple of girls but sex wasn’t something that had crossed my mind.

Hell, if a girl had offered to have sex with me I would probably have run away in embarrassment, the same way I wanted to run from Tommy’s mom.

“To die will be an awfully big adventure.”
― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

I am not afraid to die, provided it is not death by fire, being eaten alive, dropped in a vat of acid or slowly pulled apart by horses.

Death will be an adventure and though I am really not sure if anything comes afterwards I am not sure that nothing does either.

I guess part of me figures ‘D’ and my grandathers will be waiting for me to hang out with them, or something like that.

When I was a kid I used to wonder if you really could fight the Grim Reaper and thought I would beat him.

I still do, so maybe I am only partially grown up.

Partially because I figure that the bony dude doesn’t get tired and recognize I don’t have the same energy levels I used to.

I still have more than many but it is not all day, every day anymore.

So one day he’ll probably catch me, but he better hope I don’t manage to catch with my right because no matter how old I am that right hand will be devastating.

But the main reason I want to hang around is I have a ton of things to do and I want to be here to help the kids, grandkids, great grandkids and great-great grandkids with their lives.

Still if I do this parenting thing right I’ll get a chance to focus on me and what I want, what I need.

I’ll get to go back and focus on doing what I haven’t done and cross a few more things off of the bucket list.

At least that is the idea and if I picture everything right it fits with what I saw many years ago. It answers the question of How I grew up to be the one I am now…

Or maybe it doesn’t.

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  1. Tamara May 30, 2016 at 12:10 pm

    “Death will be an adventure and though I am really not sure if anything comes afterwards I am not sure that nothing does either.” That’s pretty much exactly how I feel. I’m more afraid of drowning than being pulled apart by horses, though.

  2. upasna May 30, 2016 at 12:11 am

    I hope you will be here to guide your coming generations. When you say – Come home only for dinner- It took me back in my childhood days. I thought it happens only in India. Silly me. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Kristi Campbell May 29, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    Completely loving this. You have such a way of capturing the feel of the doubts and worries and all of it. I especially related to running outside free all day in the 70’s and even 80’s, no cell phone… just get home for dinner. Let yourself in after school (I had a key on a leather necklace). Atari, and also the whole later seeking death and now wanting to stay here for so so long for the great great grandkids…. so very glad you linked this up with Finish the Sentence.

    • Jack Steiner May 30, 2016 at 11:15 am

      Thank you. I remember how excited I was to be given a key to the house. I could come and go and never worry about whether my folks were around or not.

      There was so much freedom. It is something I really have been trying to help my kids experience, you learn from that kind of thing.

      So much to do in life and so little time to do it all but we sure can try.

  4. Larry May 29, 2016 at 11:46 am

    I like the quote above.
    Asking a good question shows a certain intellect.

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