Peanut Clusters and Almond Roca

January 5th has a special meaning to me, as it marks the birthday of one of the principal influences in my life. I was relatively oblivous to it at the time , subconsciously absorbing and integrating characteristics, while most likely swearing i’d never be like him. He was a software engineer with a strong interested in databases, a fan of science fiction, a humerous man with a penchant for use, and abuse, of puns. He was also interested in the world of music, stereo equipment, and all things related to the advancement of techo-gadgets. Sound familier? He’d be 72 today had he not passed away at the age of 54. His name was Alan Mitchell. My father.

There’s a thread in my writing, as well as my daily life, that is tied to my upbringing and my father. If you asked me to reflect on the biggest regrets in my life, not having the opportunity to talk to him now would be near or at the top of the list. When your father passes away and you’re in the self-absorbed mid-twenties of your life, you’re not able to fully relate to the significance of their passing let alone the scope of what being an adult and a parent can encompass. At least that was the case for me.

In 1999, when I’d attempted to start journaling on my website long before the term ‘blog’ existed, I wrote about him, and I have resurrected that post here. What’s striking is to look back and realize that it was written the week of the 10yr anniversary of his death, yet I don’t recall having that in mind at the time. In addition, I solicited and received a wide range of feedback a few years ago from co-workers at Tandem. I complied them and emailed it to my brother and his children. The fruit of that labor was to later learn that the selection my niece Lindsey made for a school assignment to write about somebody in history she’d most like to meet was him. Talk about a rewarding moment.

Slippers and ties never really caught on as the present of choice each year, when as children, we’d try to find some gift he’d like. But over the years two things grew to become not only surefire success, but almost tradition. Although time did not allow me to do so today, I still try every year to indulge on his behalf. I can still hear the bag rattling and the foil unwrapping as the day would be spent snacking on Peanut Clusters and Almond Roca.

Happy Birthday, Dad.


Written by gsm

01/05/2006 at 11:58 pm

Posted in  Journal 

One Response

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  1. Now THAT is writing. Read the first paragraph and thought you were talking about yourself – I guess we are images of our parents (makes me fear for my boys). Makes me reflect on my conversations/relationship with my dad and realize I need to take advantage of the time I have before it is too late.


    01/06/2006 at 8:51 am

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