Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Memories are what you choose to remember.

Some parts of my childhood are blank. Not blurred, or fuzzy, but like erased. I don't think I had horrible experiences that needed to be expunged - maybe just not enough RAM.

But certain parts are extremely clear.

For one, the relationship between myself, my father, and the Los Angeles Times.

It may be difficult for those of you younger than 50 to comprehend, but the daily newspaper used to be the main source of news. There was no Internet or Twitter or email - CNN didn't exist - for years there weren't any morning news shows.

But the morning paper, traditionally thrown in the bushes in front of your house by a young boy on a bicycle, would turn your fingers inky black while over breakfast you read about what the Russians were saying, what Washington was saying back, and the latest serial murderer being hunted in some metropolitan area.

The comics were only one sheet, but worth fighting with your older brother over who got to read first. "Dear Abby" was for grown-ups - horoscopes also.

And I would daily turn to the classifieds in the consistent (albeit irrational) delusion that someday under "Horses," the following advertisement would appear:

"Free beautiful, healthy 8 year old gelding to be given to 12 year old over 5'9" tall, as well as all tack and grooming supplies in addition to first seven years free boarding and feeding costs at local S.P. stable. Call 213-555-1212 immediately to arrange for transportation."

And something my dad and I also shared was the weekly column by Jack Smith.

It was always succinct, direct and usually droll. My dad just loved it, and since I loved my dad so much, of course I did also.

So why am I rambling on about this, and is this going anywhere?

Our book club is meeting at my house next week, which means I suggested the book for discussion.

It was "God and Mr. Gomez" by Jack Smith.

Reading the book for probably the 57th time, I am continually warmed by Smith's phrasing, descriptions and drollity (is that a word? should it be?).

And you know why?

It reminds me of my dad.

I miss him.


Annette said...

I remember reading Jack Smith in the LA Times...a great writer. I've never read his book though.