Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy My Dad

NEW YORK—I hope you are all having a happy Thanksgiving so far!

If you're spending it at home with loved ones feasting on turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce and all that usual holiday standbys, then right there you are already having a better Thanksgiving than I am...being that I am currently at my place of employment working. (Hey, Wall Street Journal papers needed to be put out tomorrow!) But then, I've worked on Thanksgiving this three years in a row for News Corp., so I'm used to it. At least I get fed. And at least I get holiday pay out of this. Extra money: always a good thing!

There's much that I'm thankful for, of course. And really, I paid tribute to the most of the important stuff in my life in this post, written last Thanksgiving; not much has really changed since then, even with the recent change in living locale.

My dad at the Toyota factory in Tokyo last year

This year, though, Thanksgiving coincides with my father's 61st birthday. For the occasion, my mother came up with the idea of commissioning each member of the Fujishima clan to contribute an essay to commemorate this milestone. As she wrote to me via email:

Since we will get together for the turkey feast, I have suggested and requested everybody writes an essay of the personal feeling about your Dad.  I keep asking Dad what he wants.  He keeps saying "nothing special".  I think if we all tell him how we feel about him, this shall touch his heart and make him feel special.  Shiiii.  I want to keep it a secret-giving him one essay for his birthday present from each one of us.

Here is what I came up with (essentially a reworking/expansion of this earlier Father's Day post, since I seem to be on a self-referential streak these days):

Well, it's Thanksgiving. And this year, it seems, Dad's birthday falls on the same day. This is not only coincidental but very fitting.

Though I consider myself a pretty passionate person inside, I'm admittedly rather sparse with the loving gestures outside—as are you, Dad. But really, there's a lot that makes us both similar, even if we don't say it out loud. Philosophically and personally, I've always felt more of a kinship with you, especially on matters of how to live one's life. So, for instance, during that particularly agonizing time in college during my sophomore year when I was torn between practical fears and my own desire to pursue something I was more deeply interested in, you were the one I went to for advice and support. In general, I feel far more comfortable talking to you about personal matters than I do with Mom.

Of course, I realize that most of the time you end up hearing more about what happens to me from others than from me directly. Maybe that needs to change, and I need to let you in more. But in my own bid to keep this as short and sweet as possible—because I think you, most of all in this family, would appreciate both a lack of sentimentality and brevity of gesture—for now, I'll just offer you this: I'm thankful for your wisdom and, simply, your presence when I've needed you most.

Now, if you would consider at least taking some steps to giving up smoking, then that would make this all the nicer.

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