Father’s Day!

Grandpa Tom

Andrew Thomas McMillan

This Sunday is Father’s Day in the USA.

My father (pictured above) died a year and a half ago.

He was a loving man who sang to me and my siblings at bedtime when we were young.

He didn’t teach me much about business or money — unless it was to inspire me to make different decisions than he did regarding concepts like saving…

But he was always willing to talk and listen.

At one point when he needed to stop driving, sell a trailer home he owned which was costing him money, and do some strategic planning regarding his declining health, two of my siblings and I and he met with a mediator.

It was not easy or fun to meet with a mediator, but we emerged with an agreed-upon list of things that needed to be accomplished.

And bless him, he accomplished everything on the list (with significant help from my older sister, with whom he lived for many years…)

As his health declined and he became less and less mobile, the sweetest way to spend time with him was sitting by his bed and playing the ukulele.

He loved to sing — even when his face was more and more disfigured by the cancer which eventually wore him out — and knew lots of standards from the 1920s – 1970s.

The wonderful team of David Shire (composer) and Richard Maltby, Jr. (lyricist) wrote a song called “If I Sing” which always touches my heart.

It was inspired by a visit which David Shire made to his father who was living in a retirement community/nursing home.

When I perform “If I Sing,” I am very grateful that my dad shared his love of music with me.

And I think of several male voice teachers who have nurtured me over the past couple of decades.

And I think of my step father, who was a professional flautist for many years — and  is now a passionate music educator who loves his students and continues to teach in his 80s.

A heartful Father’s Day to you, dear reader.

I am well aware that not everyone is blessed with a loving and functional father — or even a father at all…

However, I hope you are able to feel grateful for something your dad — or a trustworthy male teacher, or minister, or rabbi, or mentor — has given you.

Thank you for reading and watching and listening to this blog post.

Thank you, too, to Maltby & Shire for writing such a terrific song.

And thank you to Mike Callahan — himself now an enthusiastic and loving father! — for creating this great orchestration, for inviting me to sing with the Timberlane pops orchestra, and for conducting the orchestra so tenderly and skillfully.

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20 thoughts on “Father’s Day!

  1. What a beautiful tribute Will. Never having met your father I think there is a lot of him in you. Did I ever thank you for Danny Boy on the shores of the Hudson for my dad’s sendoff. 💝

    • You DID thank me for our spontaneous Danny Boy on the shores of the Hudson… a beautiful send off for your dad’s ashes from a serendipitously discovered and perfectly private boat launch area! Thank you for reading and listening, Jane. As I think I shared during that weekend, I have very fond and grateful memories of your Dad.

  2. I think of my strange father often. I loved him and we loved music and baseball.
    Thanks Will. I’ll look up that song.

    • Maltby & Shire have written so many great songs about what it’s like being an adult — all the love and loss and longing and tradeoffs and disappointments and joys. THANK YOU for reading and listening, dear man. I remember how much you love your son, too… Deep breath in. Deep breath out.

  3. A beautiful song and tribute to your father, Will… A song I will add to my playlist …It is the first time I have heard this song and I loved it 🙂

  4. Wow, Will–this is so moving and beautifully sung! I didn’t know the song but I love it, and I love the love that is at the heart of it. Gives me chills!

    • Hurrah for the galvanic skin response aka chills! That is a high compliment!!! Chills is often how my body responds when I hear people making music who are very connected to the present moment and to the emotion of a particular song or piece of music. Thank you, as always, for making time to read and listen, oh woman of the loom…

    • There is a blog I love to follow written by a nursery school teacher, and so much of what her children learn is sparked by having been read aloud to — by teachers, by parents, by friends, etc. Hurrah that your dad shared this vital skill/gift/tool with you and your siblings!

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