Today would have been Dad's 78th birthday. Because my perceptions are shaped by my thoughts and moods, today I'm going to celebrate a roaringly fabulous life rather than mope about what I've lost.
Since I was 21 (or thereabouts), it has been a tradition that no matter where I have been in the world, I will face the West and raise a snort of whisky to Dad. The only thing that changed through the years was the quality of the barrel. I always called him to share his toast, but this year I guess I'll have to depend on the ether instead of a phone line.
No matter your poison, and no matter, really, whether or not you knew my Dad, I urge you to do the same; face the West, raise a glass, and salute the passions that lie within you.
O. Gail Poole did "not go gentle into that good night," and I believe it's a good reminder for us all to live the hell out of whatever time we have on this strange blue planet.
I'll be heading to a brasserie here in Paris that Dad always insisted I go to but I never bothered with. He never believed I would actually go. I hope they have whisky.
All best to you all y'all, Nicole
UPDATE: 5:20 P.M., PARIS
For years, Dad demanded I try the lunch at La Charrette*, a brasserie he visited near the Musee d'Orsay in 1999. He really believed I would never go and that made him sad. So today, I went, and raised a glass of whisky to him before my lunch arrived. My eyes got leaky and it was a lovely, cinematic, bittersweet moment...and then the food came.
I have never eaten a raw old monkey, but it couldn't be worse than the steak they served me. I'm really glad I had the whisky first.
For those of you who knew my father, you'll recognize this as the "Poole Luck" kicking in. (Somehow our ancestors pissed off the Gods of Comedy.) What's great about it is it made today really special, and I can give a big belly laugh about it rather than being precious.
Over and out.
*From Wikipedia: "Thought to originate from the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris in the 19th century, the word charrette is from the French for "cart" or "chariot". It was not unusual for student architects to continue working furiously in teams at the end of the allotted term, up until a deadline, when a charrette would be wheeled among the students to pick up their work for review while they, each working furiously to apply the finishing touches, were said to be working en charrette, in the cart. Émile Zola depicted such a scene of feverish activity in L'Œuvre (serialized 1885, published 1886), his fictionalized account of his friendship with Paul Cézanne. Hence, the term metamorphosed into the current design-related usage in conjunction with working right up until a deadline."