Gather and see the music
with original portraits on vinyl.

Home | About | Press | FAQ | Gallery | Shop | Custom

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day from Ryan Barton

Ryan Barton is a stand-up guy. So generous with his time and his seemingly ceaseless energy. I'm so glad I get to share this story of his.

Nearly twenty years later, I can still see him.

If I close my eyes, I can see the man, standing in the middle of my childhood living room. His arms are raised above his head, shaking them to the left and right. His head -- tilted back; and his eyes -- closed shut. And now, he dances. And as he dances... almost prancing and jumping around the room... his three children giggle with glee.

What those children didn't know that day, was twenty years later, their father would continue to put any shame or embarrassment to the side and channel his inner Tevye to do the "If I Were a Rich Man" dance upon request. And this time, his grandchildren are in the audience.

My family isn't of Jewish descent. And my father? He looks and sounds nothing like Chaim Topol's Tevye. In fact, if you told the employees at his office that he was dancing and playing with his kids, they'd probably scoff at you in disbelief. It just wasn't like him. The confident, black-and-white business man wouldn't be caught doing such a thing.

Except he did anything for his family. Anything to make them smile. Anything to make them happy.

Every five years or so, Father's Day and my birthday fall on the same Sunday; 2010 is one of those years. And the older I get, the more I reflect and realize that my dad did things the way he did to prepare me for the future. His decisions may not have been the easiest or most fun, but they had a purpose.

He didn't talk down to me, but that made it easy to converse with adults. He taught me "average" wasn't good enough, and that instilled a sense of pride for all that I do. He taught me to check my work twice, as if I was turning it into Jesus, and I still check twice before I press "send" on my emails. He didn't buy me a car when I was 15 like my friends' dads did, and that kept me grounded. He taught me my mom was his best friend, and now I have one of my own.

My wife and I don't have any children yet, but I'm certain that when we do, I'll take thousands of cues from my dad as we grow our family. And I know I'll make decisions that my kids will hate. I can only hope they'll grow-up to realize I made those decisions because I care about them and their future.

Giving my dad Daniel's beautiful painting of the singular image of Topol, gazing upwards with the coy smile, is itself, more than a unique Father's Day gift. To me, it was a gesture of understanding and gratitude for what, why and how my father did what he did.

Happy Father's Day dads...


No comments: