council of Dads

The girls’ school-year is winding down. Yesterday Older Daughter had only to go in for a late math exam at around noon, and Younger Daughter had an early band recital before dismissal.

That gave me, their driver, a couple of hours to spend as wisely as I could, so naturally I hoofed it downtown. Wanted to check out the flood‘s aftermath, which of course was distressing.

The Schermerhorn Symphony Hall was ringed by crates and large tubes presumably connected to dehumidifiers, there were piles of trash and debris in all the places that had been so abruptly overtaken by the Cumberland River. Normalcy is returning, but slowly.

Then, to my favorite downtown locale: the Shelby Street pedestrian bridge, with its spectacular skyline views and now in the shadow of Nashville’s newest skyscraper, the rising Pinnacle building (video). This day, there was also a strange vintage hot rod competition happening under the bridge on the east bank. A tricked-out ’49 GMC pickup peeled around a temporary track, as an obnoxious announcer filled the air with commentary that I suppose would have made sense if I were a little more in touch with my inner NASCAR fanatic.

But the really serendipitous angle on this amble was the radio segment I tuned in to, while making my bridge transit. It was an interview with author Bruce Feiler, who responded to a cancer diagnosis appropriately by thinking about his twin girls and what he could do for them after he’s gone. He hit upon the inspired idea of convening a “council of Dads,” from among his own circle of friends and associates: men who agreed they’d attempt to fill bits of the paternal role for his girls, to help them become young women.

So should we all. We’re all terminal, after all, and long-term thinking begins at home.

Happy birthday, Mom.

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