Friday, June 15, 2012

John Christopher Egan

        Whenever we leave town nowadays we have a friend of ours come over and house/pet sit; for which we are eternally grateful. The dogs and cats are much happier staying in their own environment and we feel a lot more secure having someone in the house. The only "down side," to having a house guest is the spring cleaning that comes with having that someone move in for a week. You know the general scurry of activity that accompanies getting ready for a trip? and then Patty wants me to get all Martha Stewart in preparation for a mate who could care less if the sheets on the guest bed have that Aroma Therapy Lavender Scent; seriously,  as long as there's a cold beer in the fridge and the Direct TV subscription is paid he's batting a thousand.

        Actually, I'm as bad as she is, but I still like to give her a hard time about it, so last week before we headed to New York, I went through the motions, cleaned the bedroom windows, dusted off the bed set, completely remodeled the downstairs bathroom (almost, I still need to grout the new tile and decide if Martha would actually paint the semi-gloss brown stripe above the accent tile or not,) threw the sheets in the wash, dried them, forgot the lavender scented dryer sheets, so dried them again, then tackled my desk area, Oh the perils of not having a door to my office!

        Once I got into the chore of sorting through the piles of old Home Depot receipts, Online auction records, and expired Bed Bath and Beyond coupons, (actually they never expire, even though they have an expiration on them,) and last years copies of Martha Stewart Living! I decided that once and for all I would really, I mean really sort out the good stuff from the junk and so I settled down with a clear mission to find a place for, or dispose of every single scrap of ephemera in my office. It was all going according to plan, the paper shredder was performing flawlessly even when I exceeded the ten page limit, and then I came across something that halted my progress faster than a TSA agent sniffing out a 3.6 ounce bottle of aftershave in my carry-on. I found a stack of letters from my dad.  
        He passed away just a couple of years ago and I really miss the old bugger. I'm sure most of you that know me, know that he and I had a few struggles sorting out our relationship when I was younger, but in the end we did sort them out and almost right in the middle of sorting them out, I moved to the States. This was over twenty years ago, so writing letters was still acceptable, Oh and by the way, I'm going to make a pact with myself to actually start doing that again as opposed to emails all the time, honestly who doesn't love holding a handwritten letter in their paws? I recently received a surprise note card from one of my fellow Swagger writers and it made me smile the whole day (thanks Gina.) Anyway, I sat and read a couple of his letters and I got to re-connect with him again and I got to cry again, and I got to feel regret and sorrow again and then, I found the note he left on his bedside stand for Patty and I to find when we returned from taking him to LAX after he spent three months with us eighteen years ago. It was a short, beautiful, heartfelt, simple note, and it was a note that makes me shed a tear of joy again right now as I'm writing. My dad had a great way with words, especially the written word and he also had what I considered gorgeous handwriting, I ended up with my mum's hand, worse than an inebriated doctors scrawl. I wont bore you with the details of his note, it wouldn't mean anything to you, but to me that one and half pages encapsulates my whole relationship with my dad and the most important thing about it was the "I Love You Son," at the end.


        The other item I discovered which brings a tear to my eye is a Fathers Day card I purchased the year he died, this weekend is Father's Day here in the States, but in Australia it's the first Sunday in September, so for years I would always just call my dad on Father's Day because we could never find a card in the stores here, but the year he died Patty reminded me to pick one up to hold onto so we could send it to him, (as well as a call of course.) I forgot to send it in time and so it now sits in my desk with his letters. A day doesn't pass where I don't consciously think of my dad, especially if I'm doing a project --- re-modeling the downstairs bathroom --- I know he'd know whether to paint that brown stripe or not, he loved to build stuff and he was a great tinkerer, so much so, that the morning he passed away, my youngest brother Adrian and I had just gotten to the his room in the hospital and he was slid down in the bed, he immediately went into describing a piece of apparatus he'd designed that would fit at the end of his bed so he could push himself up that he wanted my other brother, Julian to make for him, Because "He's good with woodwork and you boys don't have the patience he does."

        So, my point in writing this is simple, it's Fathers Day this weekend and I want to wish my dad a happy Father's Day, and although I regret not sending that Father's Day card three years ago, I choose to love that I have it as a physical reminder of what he means to me still. I also choose to believe that he is sitting by my side as I pick away at this keyboard Writing in Spite of Myself.

  Love you Dad
1933 - 2010



  1. I always loved his handwriting.

  2. great tribute! your dad looks just I like pictured him. I bet your upcoming guest post with us will increase your readership here; we'll be sure to plug it.

  3. Moving tribute, Jon! Gina is great with those cards she sends. You're right. Handwritten notes carry more weight than an e-mail and have more staying power too.

  4. This made me cry. I miss my dad, too. Great post! But the unsent card reminds me of the Get well card I bought for a friend who died before I could send it. I have bought & sent many Get well cards over the years, but I hang on to this one intended for Anna, rather than send it to someone else. It keeps Anna close.