In my experience dads are often absent.
Once, I bought my dad a fishing pole, as a way, maybe, to remind him of when he took us kids fishing off the dock at the Lake, how much fun it was. But the fishing pole went into the closet.
One year I bought him a kite. It went into the closet next to the fishing pole, under the rack of boisterous ties.
I didn’t want a dad who went to work and, when home, kept to himself. I wanted a dad who was sort of clownish.
My dad was funny but was not a clown. He was compact and sturdy, without a sliver of clumsiness.
He thought a lot about money. In my younger days when I needed his money, I had to meet with him, usually for lunch, and act proper and businesslike. That’s hard for a person like me. But I was always enthusiastically grateful.
My dad was precise. He sketched out his ideas, drew little maps, measured twice. If there was a door to be hung, he was the person you’d want.
My dad could be rigid and we had nothing to say to each other.
But then he became clumsy and clownish. He laughed boisterously like the ties he never wore. His dress, his stance, became less than impeccable. Sometimes he choked and coughed food onto his shirt. I am certain that had I asked him then, he would’ve taken me fishing. He would’ve put those curly worms on the hook for me. He would’ve stood with me at the end of the dock watching the little sunfish shimmer under the water. He would have. But ALS got him.