He passed a few years ago, but he was a tough old bird. The first time that I met him he made a point of showing me his weaponry. He was an old cop and protective of his young daughter. So, he brought out this box and said, “I just want to show you some of my stuff.” He pointed out his billy-club, a few of his guns, handcuffs. You get the idea.
The point was clear. He was telling me that if I hurt his daughter, he would hurt me. Laurie and I were both grad students in the SFSU Department of History, but I took the man seriously.
There is definitely both love and anger in that family, although aside from that interesting moment they have has always been gracious and loving toward me… perhaps more so than I deserve.
Anyway, the other day I watched “The Great Santini” with Robert Duvall and, I have to say, I like that movie a lot. There is a complexity to Santini and his relationships with his wife and kids that I find poignant, particularly his relationship with his daughter.
But Laurie hates that movie with a passion because the main character reminds her of her dad. It just cuts too close to the bone. Nonetheless, I ordered the book by Pat Conroy because I love that film. When I started talking to her about it, she got upset because “Bull” Meechum was abusive.
I tried to explain to Laurie that while, yes, Meechum was a bully and sometimes was too rough with his family – who he basically treated like soldiers under his command – he also had positive qualities, like bravery, loyalty to family and country, and wit.
Laurie is having none of it.
As far as she is concerned that character was pure evil and she asked me to not even discuss it with her, because it’s painful to her, so I acquiesced to that request, because I love her very much.
Nonetheless, we have a small gargoyle reading a book that sits out front of the house. We named him “Gary” in honor of Laurie’s dad who was buried with full military honors at Baltimore National Cemetery a few years ago.
I just thought that you needed to know that.