*Originally appeared in our June 19-25, 2022 issue
I did not “know” my dad in any real sense of the word. He’s dead a long time now and my last memory is 60-years-old or more. He was dead before I reached the age of 20. Dad was 55 years of age. My mom died two years after that. I am James Patrick Furlong Junior, and I am more than two decades older than he ever was.
He’s in my life as a dead person much longer than he ever was as a living person. In fact, I never had an adult relationship with him. I look at a colour picture recently sent to me by a family member and in that picture, which was taken when he was at least two decades younger than me, he still seems older. Odd isn’t it?
A real revelation
Now, the picture was unknown to me until a couple of weeks ago. Getting the image was a real revelation because it was in colour. The previous images of memory in my mind were put together from old black and white photographs, and James Patrick Furlong Senior was a real person and not a black and white photo. I had forgotten about that, or at least I did not think about it much.
One of the issues of losing a dad at an early age is you do not get whatever issues there may have between father and son resolved and they remain so for eternity. That’s why I am eternally grateful that my three boys have lived long enough for us to have an adult father-son relationship.
So, who was my dad? Well, I do not know really. He was like me in some ways, I guess. In some other ways he was not. He was player-coach of Parker and Monroe Ltd in the St. John’s Mercantile Hockey League.
Mysteries of life
A woman I knew 40 years ago who had worked at Parkers said I skated just like him. That would be genetic, I guess. The woman observed that.
Was I like him in matters of the soul? Well, I don’t know. It’s one of the greatest mysteries of life to which I will never know the answer. He was a decent man, I think, filled with the virtues and flaws we all have as humans.
I do know that on Father’s Day my three sons Michael, John and Patrick will all be at our dinner table. We will laugh and argue and be together as a family and have a good time.
Somewhere in that Father’s Day family table filled with food and goodwill there will be a moment when I will think of and remember my dad.
NTV’s Jim Furlong can be reached by emailing: [email protected]