Sunday, June 19, 2011


Father's Day and with it always comes a sense of melancholy.
Who was my daddy? The man I call my old drunk, dead daddy?
Ah. The stories I've heard, the few I remember. Not so good but I know where I get certain traits- some of them good, some of them bad. He was a story teller, he was a cowboy, his best friend as a child was a Seminole Indian down in the Everglades.
He was a bad drinker.

Well, I didn't see him from the time I was five until I was thirty years old and that visit was a short one. He died not long after.
Bless his heart.

I told Jessie this morning that she could thank ME for getting her such a good daddy. And that I had to figure it out for myself because I sure as hell didn't have any examples to follow.
When Mr. Moon came along in my life I couldn't figure him out at all because he was not a fucked-up human being. This was a novelty to me and a mystery, as well.
He was...happy.
He was a good man.

When I was cleaning yesterday, I came upon a letter his mother had sent me back when Glen and I had only been together a few months. Here's what it said:

Hi Mary:
Just a note this morning to say Happy Valentine's. I am feeling much better but would feel a lot better if I could get out more.
I just don't like cold weather.
How is school coming along?
We sure are looking forward to you, Glen and the kids coming up in March. Let us know what part of March you plan to come. Glen has told us so many nice things about you and your little ones.
It will be so nice to have more sweet children to love along with our sweet grandsons.
Mary we are a very close family and we have a lot of love for each other. Glen has always been a wonderful son and we are so very proud of him.

He has a lot of pride and a lot of love to give. He has never been afraid of work and has set his goals high.
I know if he has the right one to share this with he will make it.
Mary, I am not trying a sales job but we do want him to be happy and have something out of life. From what he tells us he has found this all in you and your children.
So you see honey we are very excited to meet you.
We want you to feel free and very welcome in our home.
Love....Glen's Mom and Dad

That explains it all, doesn't it?

And when I actually met his mother and his daddy and his sisters, I realized that this was indeed a family with a lot of love. More than I'd ever experienced and they held out their arms to me and my babies and gathered us in with great joy.
And I fell in love with them as I was falling in love with that crazy-tall son of theirs and that was in 1983 and by 1984 we were married and in 1985 we had Lily and he started his first business (with the help of his daddy) and he worked twelve hour days and I worked hard, too, taking care of the children, the house. It wasn't an easy life. But it was a good one. And in 1989, Jessie was born and there we were- full house, full family, full-on everything.

Glen stepped into the role of husband, father, provider like he was born to the it. I think he was.
He juggled a plate full of responsibilities and worked like a demon but he always took the time to take the kids fishing, to be at their ball games, to take us all to the beach for a weekend, to get to the meetings at their school. To go on field trips and Scout camping trips.
And he took care of the mama. Which was probably harder than all the other stuff put together, crazy as I was back in those days.
But as if all of that wasn't enough, he helped his parents move to Florida, helped them build a house, got them all settled in.
Soon after his mother died and then within a year his daddy had died, too, but he'd had the goal of moving them here and he did and they were so grateful for that. His mother did NOT like cold weather. She told the truth about that.
And about how hard he could work, how high he set his goals.
She told the truth about everything.
And I'll never forget watching Glen and his daddy work together at the tire store when Glen had that place. They giggled. Those big old men, they delighted in each others company all day long and although Glen was the boss, his daddy was the one he went to for every sort of advice, for reassurance, for support.
Listen- good daddies make good daddies.

Oh. I feel all flustered today and tired and sad. I'm still thinking about Clarence Clemons, I'm thinking about the joy that certain people can bring to this world, some of them on a huge stage, some of them on a small one.
I'm thinking about kindness.

I'm thinking about the men we've loved who brought us joy and how huge the hole is when they're gone. I'm thinking about how lucky I am to have known Glen's father, how lucky Glen was to have had him.
I'm thinking about how lucky I am was for Glen Moon to walk into my life when he did, standing up to every one of his almost-seven feet, the way he slung a fifty-pound bag of dogfood over his shoulder like it was nothing, nothing and the way he smiled at me when he did it. I'll never forget that. Maybe I knew right that second that his shoulders were strong enough to take on even me and my babies.

Yes. I was lucky and yes, I was fucking smart. I saw, I realized, I listened, I learned that men could be trusted, that men could be good fathers, that men could bring joy.
Comfort and joy.
He still does bring those things to me. More than ever.

I didn't have much of a daddy but I sure picked out a good one for my babies and it has proven to be the best thing that I ever did.

Last night when I found out that Clarance had died, Glen was already in bed and I told him and I cried and I cried and I cried and he held me and I tried to explain what was in my heart about how Clarance had been the human, wailing voice of the E-Street Band, how he'd worn those crazy polyester suits onstage with a big ol' hat sometimes, how he could wear anything he wanted to because he was Clarance Clemons, the Big Man, and Glen just held me and said, "I know, I know."

When I was a single mother in nursing school I used to listen to Bruce all the time and my favorite song was Thunder Road. It was about a Mary and the lyrics gave me hope that I would be saved. That somehow, redemption would show up on my door in the form of someone who could love me.
And it did. And he did. And that song is like the thing that kept me from completely sliding under until that man showed up and wouldn't let me go back inside, who coaxed me out and kept his promises.

So ah-yah, it's all tied together in my mind, somehow on this Father's Day.
Which of course, it's all tied up together anyway, always, on every day. Pain and joy and redemption and death and birth and love and kindness.

Here's a video of Bruce, blurry as hell, from 1976, playing Thunder Road, about the same time I first saw him and Clarance onstage. I'll copy the lyrics for you after it so you can read 'em if you want to. Watch the love at the end between Bruce and that Big Man and the joy they have in each other and think about men and their daddies, think about men and the way they can love if they have been loved, think about the men you have loved, who may have been kind to you, whether father or not, who have brought you joy, whether father or not, and Happy Father's Day, first to the man who is the father of my babies and then to his daddy and then to Jason, who is such a good father to our grandson and then to all the rest of the men so big either in body or soul or heart that they do not shy away from showing love.

That's all.

The screen door slams, Mary's dress waves
Like a vision she dances across the porch as the radio plays
Roy Orbison singing for the lonely
Hey that's me and I want you only
Don't turn me home again
I just can't face myself alone again
Don't run back inside, darling you know just what I'm here for
So you're scared and you're thinking that maybe we ain't that young anymore
Show a little faith, there's magic in the night
You ain't a beauty, but hey you're alright
Oh and that's alright with me

You can hide 'neath your covers and study your pain
Make crosses from your lovers, throw roses in the rain
Waste your summer praying in vain for a saviour to rise from these streets
Well now I'm no hero, that's understood
All the redemption I can offer, girl, is beneath this dirty hood
With a chance to make it good somehow
Hey what else can we do now
Except roll down the window and let the wind blow back your hair
Well the night's bustin' open, these two lanes will take us anywhere
We got one last chance to make it real
To trade in these wings on some wheels
Climb in back, heaven's waiting down on the tracks

Oh oh come take my hand
Riding out tonight to case the promised land
Oh oh oh oh Thunder Road, oh Thunder Road, oh Thunder Road
Lying out there like a killer in the sun
Hey I know it's late, we can make it if we run
Oh oh oh oh Thunder Road, sit tight, take hold, Thunder Road

Well I got this guitar and I learned how to make it talk
And my car's out back if you're ready to take that long walk
From your front porch to my front seat
The door's open but the ride it ain't free
And I know you're lonely for words that I ain't spoken
Tonight we'll be free, all the promises will be broken
There were ghosts in the eyes of all the boys you sent away
They haunt this dusty beach road in the skeleton frames of burned-out Chevrolets
They scream your name at night in the street
Your graduation gown lies in rags at their feet
And in the lonely cool before dawn
You hear their engines roaring on
But when you get to the porch they're gone on the wind, so Mary climb in
It's a town full of losers, I'm pulling out of here to win.


  1. Mary, Mary, Mary....God almighty what words of love you poured for all of us to drink from. And I may not know you and your tall man Mr. Moon but I certainly know that he is a man with a huge heart for all his family. This I can read.

    Oh and that I have to be honest...I really never followed Springsteen but what lyrics.

    I have goosebumps on goosebumps and I am missing my Love more that I was...knowing he is having a good time makes me happy. Being our son, doing the man thing of adventure.

    Yep...the sky is a deep deep blue today and I am feeling Mary's sermon today all through my soul.

  2. some of us save the best for last....


  3. Wow. If that wasn't the greatest Father's Day post ever, I don't know what would be.

    Just wow.

  4. I love what you write, and I think the heart of this blog is love, and especially the love of that dear man of yours.

  5. Sigh. I loved this one too. Hope you're having a wonderful day.

  6. Ellen- It is a good thing to pay attention to B. Springsteen. I realize that not everyone loves him the way I do, but he is an amazing artist and his band was something completely and utterly new when he began it. I am so grateful, as I know you are, to have found that man who gave us one last chance to make it real.

    rebecca- Amen, sister-baby. Amen.

    Elizabeth- One word: Gradydoctor.

    Nancy C- You are right about the heart of the love. Thank-you.

    A- I've been leaking tears all day.

    Nicol- It's a strange day. Sad but good.

  7. Oh Sister Moon you are something special. And that Mr. Moon? Sigh.

    Yes. You are winning. And yes, you do have bootstraps, for real.

  8. A wonderful post about the love that you have in your life and that you probably longed for from your dad. It is so good that you found each other, you and Mr. Moon.

  9. sometimes the family we pick is better than the family we are born to. amen to having the ability to choose.


  10. You done good. Real good. You deserve nothing less.

  11. thank you Ms Moon, for this beautiful post.

    Rest easy now.

  12. I cried so hard for Clarence last night. Like I told Hank, they were silly tears because well, hell, I don't know the man... But he was one of the ones that raised us up.
    I am so lucky Mama. Lucky that you raised us with music that makes and breaks the heart, lucky to have Daddy Glen. It's all as you said. Thank you for sharing Grammy's letter. Thank you for such a beautiful post. I love you.

  13. What a beautiful tribute to a great guy. So much love.
    I especially loved the letter from Mr. Moon's mom. Mother's always want to see the best in their children but in this case, never has a woman been more true.

    Love and hugs to you.

  14. gradydoctor- I know. I know I have bootstraps AND boots and I know I am so lucky in love.

    Syd- I DID long for my father and his love. So very much. For so very long.

    Mrs. A- You know. Oh yes you do.

    Omgrrrl- Doesn't seem like it but maybe. Who knows? Love you, girl.

    Beth- Yes. I think today may be a day of rest for me.

    May- That makes me cry again. His horn was part of your growing-up music for sure. Bruce would sing it and then Clarance would turn it into pureness. When I played your message last night, Glen came over to listen and put his arms around me. He loves you so much. He loves all of you so much. And your Daddy Jerry does too. And so do I. Oh my god. So do I.

    Mel's Way- Wasn't that so sweet of her? I have to wonder what Mr. Moon had been telling his parents. Lord.

  15. This is such a great post.

    And, if you don't mind, I think you're a beauty.

    Love you.

  16. Ms. Bastard-Beloved- I certainly do NOT mind.

  17. Wonderful post about Mr. Moon and you. Love to all. Funny about Thunder Road; growing up as a teenager in MD in the 70's, Bruce was really big around those parts. But I didn't really get into his music until I grew up, but... Thunder Road's lyrics spoke to me even as a young teenager like no other song. Every time I heard it on the radio or read the lyrics even now, a tingle goes up and down my spine. Great song and an inspiration to live a different life. You are doing it.

  18. Scott- It is an amazing song. I love it now as much as I ever did. Probably more. "Have a little faith, there's magic in the night..."
    We all need words like that.

  19. That letter from Mr Moon's mother made me cry. So loving and amazing.

    I can imagine that song would promise salvation.

  20. a man who keeps his promises. that says it all. this is the most loving tribute to a life partner that I have ever read. and thank you.

    and he found a woman worth making promises to, so yes, it goes both ways. love.

  21. Ahh! Mary, that was amazing. I filled up reading that. I love the letter from his mum. What a truly wonderful man Glen is. Bless you both. I love you xx

    PS. I haven't heard Thunder Road for years - what a great performance!


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