Friday, October 1, 2021

Fathers, Sons, And All That Comes With It

If there were a Facebook section for father-son relationships, my status would read:
"It's Complicated..."

I made my debut in Zanesville, Ohio back in the summer of 1968. The day before I dropped, my grandfather presented my anxious soon-to-be father with this -

I had it for a good while, and then I passed it on to my niece who now has a son of her own.

While I don't regret passing it on, I would be less than forthright if I didn't admit to a pang of loss. And in truth, not for the object itself, but rather what that Mido represented.  When I think about my relationship with my father, it is in many ways a play in three acts. The first act would be happiness, growing up in a small town. The second act would struggle as we tried (often unsuccessfully) to maintain a positive relationship after he remarried. The third would be acceptance, as we grew further apart in terms of geographic distance, but reconnected now and again and tried to focus on the positive memories that we shared. 

In truth, this type of evolving relationship is not unique, we all go through it in our own way with our families and relationships. And to some extent, I always connected that first, "happy" period with his/then my/now my niece's Mido. I tried to recapture the feeling with other vintage Midos, but it was really never the same. It almost felt as if I was trying to channel my memories through someone else's horological talisman.

I recently found myself face to face with a relative of my father's Mido, and decided it was finally time to buy one for myself. I waffled back and forth for a minute, and finally made my move.

Now to be completely clear:
No. This new Mido did not make me more handsome, did not make me any smarter, food does not magically taste better, and I am not suddenly capable of tremendous feats of strength or daring-do.

But there is something that this new Mido did do, almost instantaneously - it hit me with a visceral sucker punch that I really wasn't expecting. I felt (and feel) a strange familiar calmness that takes me back to 1977 in that small Ohio town. My sisters and I are under the giant oak tree in the Pierce's side yard, we're playing jailbreak, and Dean Mason is "it", and he is the fastest runner any of us have ever seen so we have to be quick, sneaky, or simply cheat if we're not going to get tagged out ; ). And it finally gets so dark that we have to go inside, and my father is there in the living room, watching another hopelessly cursed Cleveland Indians team end the season in the same morass and ineptitude that have come to be a hallmark for the big city to the north. He comes up to my room to say goodnight. We talk about what we did that day - which really means that I tell him about my day, the ups and downs. And he smiles, gives me a hug and says "don't worry, things will look a lot brighter in the morning!" And with that he turns out the light in my room and heads to bed.

I thought it might be appropriate to wrap this up with a quote from that other great commentator on watches, the poet philosopher - Master Po from TV's Kung Fu:
Shamelessly borrowed from the worldwide infoweb
Caine: Is it good to seek the past, Master Po? Does it not rob the present?

Master Po: If a man dwells on the past, then he robs the present. But if a man ignores the past, he may rob the future. The seeds of our destiny are nurtured by the roots of our past.

Enjoy your watches - and give your dad a call!

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