New Perspectives: A Senior Moment – “A Father’s Soul”

A Senior Moment

                                                                  ” A Father’s Soul”

I Found my Soul just in time for Father’s Day. It is a precious gift to myself.

Typically, over these many years of fatherhood, I have always remained content to receive presents from my three adoring children. For our first several Father’s Day celebrations, I dutifully remained languishing in bed while anxiously listening to the crashing and banging (and occasional smoke alarms) resonating in the kitchen as my “surprise” was being created by busy little hands. Predictably, after many long minutes and closer to lunch time, the surprise arrived—breakfast in bed! Never mind the scrambled eggs seasoned with shell, spilled tea sloshing across the tray, or the carcinogen blackened toast, its burnt surface cleverly camouflaged under a thick slab of peanut butter. I gamely chewed while silently repeating my mantra: it is the thought that counts.

When the kids were older, thankfully they graduated into buying real gifts. I still have my supply of gaudy-patterned, wide ties (which may return to fashion one day, if I last long enough). I don’t remember when I last wore a tie. For clergy duties I rely on my minister’s blue shirt with fitted plastic collar. I seldom attend formal events where a dress code demands a narrow length of cloth tightened around my neck in a hangman’s noose. I don’t really need any more socks or pajamas. In fact, I keep one still-wrapped pair of plaid PJs close by in case I am suddenly hospitalized. So I figured it is time to buy a different kind of present for myself.

Which brings me to my Soul. To clarify, I am not referring to the current status and eternal destination of my soul (note lower case). My self-gift on this Father’s Day is a new car, namely a Kia Soul (hence the capital S).  It is fascinating (at least to me) that I seem to choose vehicles which fit my life story. My last car was the Honda Fit, a subcompact, but also the only small car into which I easily “fit” my 6’ 4” elongated frame. Now, as a minister, I find myself driving a “Soul.”

My first car was a 1950 Ford which I had at age 20— a loaner from my father. After repainting it a flashy two-toned green and white, customizing with fender skirts and little tassels around the window interiors, I proudly drove to Downsview Collegiate during my 7th year of enforced education. Sadly, twelve months later, on my return from university in Iowa, I found my left-behind car now belonged to an aunt. Something about “use it or lose it.”

The first car I actually bought six years later was a tiny Volkswagen with an innovative gas heater which often worked. This was an inexpensive, unexciting vehicle but one which I could afford as a new graduate. Then, life marched on and carefree bachelorhood gave way to marriage and responsible parenthood. A Chrysler K car soon followed; a sensible van and practical means of transportation for a growing family, regularly carrying moldy camping gear and smelly sports equipment, drooling dogs and too many costly loads of groceries.

I somehow skipped a midlife crisis so I had no need of a sexy red sports car (or some much younger girlfriend to sit in the passenger seat.) But thus far, I have utterly failed to similarly bypass becoming elderly—which brings me back to my Soul.

In a far distant past life, I recall studiously peering under the hoods of cars pretending to comprehend details about pistons, valves and fuel pumps. At my local Soul dealer, I brushed aside such esoteric details and focused (did I mention I also once drove a Focus?) on one miracle of modern auto technology—a rear view camera.

No longer will I have to rely on twisting my stiff neck while backing up, painfully swiveling it around to see what’s behind me. In my hometown, our main street features angle parking which results in an even greater challenge; if the road view is blocked by an oversize van or pickup truck parked beside me, one slowly backs up into the travelled portion of the street with a certain amount of faith and hope. Now I can add technology to my fervent prayer.

Today, I will spend a moment fondly remembering long ago breakfasts in bed, those many pair of woolen socks and flashy ties. Then I will take my Soul to church to lead a service for those dear souls gathered expectantly.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads and grandads still with us and those who will always remain alive in our memories.

PS full disclosure: for the next 36 months, it will be a TD bank that really owns my Soul.