Thursday, June 16, 2011

So Long, Snoopy, Snoopy, So Long

y father took great care in choosing cards for people. Whether for a specific occasion or for no reason at all, the card had to speak to him as well as to the recipient. (Frankly, this is how all of us should choose our cards.)

I’ve saved most of the cards he sent to me over the years, knowing how much of him was in each one. (Confession: When we moved, I parted ways with the Snoopy cards. Eons ago I played the part of Snoopy in a small production of You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown. Loved the role at the time, but didn’t expect it to follow me into the Golden Years. Dad kept the flame lit.)

Mindful of my father’s perspective, I tried to reciprocate with my card choices for him. Sometimes this felt like an exercise in futility. The major greeting-card companies didn’t seem to have a handle on my personality. But one year, the gods of the cards came to my rescue for Father’s Day.

A publication I oversaw needed cover art that easily connected to one of the stories inside. It was a June issue, so there was also a need to give a nod to Father’s Day somewhere in the issue. Holidays usually inspired us to find cover art that did double duty—that worked as well for the special occasion as for a particular story.

We were coming up empty though—running out of ideas and time. I was desperate enough to start thumbing through my own boxes of photos and memorabilia. That’s how I found it.

The photograph from my childhood prominently featured my father (in what some might think a humiliating position) in a spontaneous musical moment with his youngest daughter. Silliness reigned.

The photo tied in with both the holiday and with a story about hearing a different beat in life and following that rhythm. (My father bristled at being labeled a conformist. He relished being a little outside the norm.) On the inside cover, I published this note for him:
ABOUT THE COVER: By example, this man encouraged me to see joy and meaning in everyday things. And to imagine what I wanted as something I already had. He convinced me that there’s always something new to learn and to always have a Plan B. He made sacrifices so that my life would be what his hadn’t been. And for all these reasons, I feel grateful and privileged. This man, Robert S. Jackson, is my father. Happy Father’s Day, Dad!
Voilà! Instant Father’s Day card!

I don’t remember the gift I sent that year. It was secondary to the perfect card, which I knew my father would like. However, I couldn’t have imagined just how much pleasure he would derive from it. He wrote to me that now he’d made it to the cover of a magazine, maybe he’d try to get onto a calendar next. I’d forgotten when I made the cover art choice that my father bought this same pocket-size, inspirational publication in bulk and sent it to all his clients each month. He didn’t hesitate (as I would have) sharing the incriminating shot of silliness. He got a LOT of mileage from it over the years.

Once again, it’s time to pay tribute to dads. This is the first Father’s Day I won’t have to obsess about finding the perfect card and gift. Mission already accomplished.

[Drop cap by Jessica Hische.]


Suki said...

Strange. Have been thinking of you lately. And this morning Pam H. contacted me asking me for your blog address. Of course, I didn't know. Of course, I'd forgotten that you had one. So I searched and found it/you. I am sorry for your string of losses. I hope that your heart is mending and that you and Edward are settling into a life that's fresh and peaceful. (Are you?)
Love from suki

CJJ said...

Thank you for your thoughts, Suki. As for the "fresh and peaceful life," we're working on it!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...