At the end of our relationship, he treated me like shit. But today as I sit and reminisce, listening to the Blues Brothers and reading some letters he wrote me, I realize just how much like him I am- which is scary.
One of my favorite stories he would tell me was as a teenager he and his friend Russ made a bet to see who could make out with the most girls over 1 summer. My Father made that bet, because he knew Russ had a girlfriend who was super possessive. Little did Steve know, but Russ would go to any lengths to win a bet. Long story short, Russ signed up both himself and his girlfriend for the Peace Corps. However, Russ couldn't pass the physical. Instead of telling his girlfriend, Russ picked her up, pretended they were both going, then dropped her off at the airport. There was nothing she could do, but go. And Russ was free to beat my Father.
My Father favored my brother over me in almost every way possible- on a real Steinbeck-ian level. It used to crush me as a kid, but as I look back on it with 20/20 vision (and the impossibility to change anything), I realize he did that because he was very much like me. He loved movies, guns, cameras, and was sentimental as fuck. I was always so jealous of the time anyone got to spend with him, but I also knew that being a kid I didn't have much to offer him in way of conversation or knowledge. But over the last 20 years, I learned a lot of that stuff to a degree that would be fun to sit and talk about. The unfortunate irony is that I'll never have those conversations with him, because we were both so alike and couldn't get past ourselves to make things right.
Steve taught me everything about photography, even buying me my first camera, a Minolta XD-11. The original one he got me was stolen, but I replaced it with another one a long time ago, and still use it to this day. I will be forever thankful for him teaching me that, and I can only hope he checked out my web site from me to time to see the pay off for his investment.
(My XD-11- Still one of my favorite cameras to shoot)
If this situation sounds similar to yours, and if you can, fix it. No matter what it costs. I am beside myself with grief over the stupidity of my own pride- don't make my mistake. My Father was a prick to me, and he should have been nicer, but he was family, and as my daughter likes to say to comfort us these days- Family is forever.
I always told myself the day my Father died, I would go to an old shitty bar and get piss drunk. But I have to pack up my house, and take care of my family... We'll see what wins out.
Rest easy, Big Steve- I hope you're eating rubber biscuits and wish sandwiches with the man upstairs.