My father was an avid reader. Rare was the time when he wasn't immersed in a book, although what he chose to read was miles away from my interests. When I was a kid I devoured fiction, horror, mysteries and thrillers, while my dad looked at that stuff as a waste of time. He preferred non-fiction, specifically history and biographies, more specifically the history of the Revolutionary War and the Civil War.
I would read Stephen King while he was analyzing Pickett's Charge. I would read Peter Straub or Edgar Allen Poe or Arthur Conan Doyle while he was learning new facts about the presidency of Ulysses S. Grant.
In short, our interests as far as reading was concerned were not even close. I suppose that held true for just about everything as I reached my teen years and reached the mistaken conclusion I knew everything, while the man I had thought knew so much knew nothing.
But the fact of the matter is I learned an appreciation for the written word from my dad, and even though the books we read were completely dissimilar, books were something we had in common even at a time when it seemed we had nothing else.
As I grew older it became increasingly clear that I was the one who, as a teenager, knew nothing and he was the one who held the knowledge I should have been soaking up. Eventually we became close again, and the man I idolized as a young child became the man I idolized as a young adult.
My dad died in January, 1998, years before I got serious about writing, so he never had an inkling that his son might eventually become a published author. And even though I know he would have ridiculed me endlessly for the choice of genres for my first book - the thriller - I am equally certain he would never have stopped bragging about his son, the author.
Happy Father's Day everybody. Enjoy the time with your dad if he's still around. You never know how much time you might have left with him.