Father Figure-d

When I was a little girl, I recall watching my father repair our wood-paneled stereo/TV – the giant kind, that spanned the length of our living room.  And I remember realizing, as if a bulb had gone on in my dim little brain, that my father could Do Anything.


It's centuries later, and I’m still dim, but I still believe that my father could do anything.


He could successfully carry a smart, yet casual look, even as a child:

He could peel potatoes, even as he was serving his country (it was the tubers that beat the Nazis, you know):

He could act like a bloody idiot:

He could host a radio program ('Nick's Nitecap'), wearing a sharp-shouldered jacket and playing cool jazz, as his listeners drank Manhattans, reclined on plastic couches and put their feet up on amoeba-shaped coffee tables.  He had the superior taste to take those records with him when he left, and now I have the rainbow-pressed Fantasy recordings of Chet Baker, Lennie Niehaus and Gerry Mulligan.

He could – and did – win eight Emmy Awards as videotape editor (for programs ranging from ‘Alice Cooper: Welcome To My Nightmare’ to ‘The Wide World of Sports’), first using a razor blade, then a computer to slice and dice the tiny, frozen scenes from the tape:

Before technicians were handed their Emmys under the cloak of night, as they were hustled out the stage door, their names were broadcast, just like any of the other winners.   In 1973 Bob Newhart announced my father’s name (winner for ‘The Julie Andrews Christmas Special’) on live TV.


He could – and does – grow tomatoes in his backyard every summer.  The harvest is usually pretty extensive – if anyone lives in the Miracle Mile district, let me know and I’ll ship you a bushel.


He could – and did – at the age of 77 – reshingle the ENTIRE roof of the house, in addition to capturing it all on tape, editing it and SETTING IT TO MUSIC (the theme to ‘Rocky’, if you must know).


In his youth he looked like Robert Mitchum…he was asked for his autograph more than once, but whether it was because of this resemblance, or because of his general excellence, I hadn’t been able to ascertain. 


But I think I now have it figured out.  Everyone wants some sort of proof that they have met the man who grew up to be the finest, handsomest, kindest, most modest gentleman in this whole, sloppy, guilty world.


Happy Father’s Day to my very extraordinary father:  I love you.  And I would also like your autograph. 

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23 responses to “Father Figure-d

  1. aww-wwww!! You were a lucky girl. And he's a lucky father!
    And I am totally PMing you the next time I'm headed up to LA – I want some tomatoes!!

  2. Great post-and a great dad, by the sound of it!

  3. Wonderful.
    And it's true – dads can do anything. Mine could.

  4. Aw, your dad sounds cool.

  5. What a great post, Aubrey! What a super talented pop! Jane
    is right–isn't it wonderful how we all think/thought our dads could do
    anything. Mine could get anywhere from anyplace. I never
    made the connection in my leetle brain that maps helped him, even after
    he told me. I preferred adoration.

  6. You were a very lucky girl growing up with such a superlative and handy father. My dad, Colonel William Q. "Wild Bill" Crinklebank, US Army, Ret., was a blundering clunderfump. Possibly the Least Handy Human Being alive, he is known worldwide for his success in never once completing an Odd Job without having to completely start over at least twice; he holds several World Records in eating potatoes, but did nothing to stop the Nazi Threat other than crap himself several times a day and torture the cat (to be fair, he was only 2 when the war ended); he once "fertilized" our entire lawn with grass-killer and could no sooner grow an edible tomato as produce produce[1] from his rectum; I think he may know who Robert Mitchum was, but does not himself resemble anyone remotely famous.
    But for all of that, he's a kind, gentle, and infinitely sweet man with the world's corniest sense of humor. I learned how to laugh in his care. 'Nuff said.
    This was lovely, Aubrey, thank you for sharing it. And the pictures are fantastic!

    [1] The English language is utter crap.

  7. I forgot to This Is Good this. Also, my dad was crap at navigation (it literally kept him out of the Navy, where — had he been commissioned — he would have surely steered the USS Missouri into the Statue of Liberty) .

  8. i am so crushing on your dad right now!

  9. What an absolutely excellent tribute to an excellent father (in fact I suspect he could well be the best father in the world – except for mine).
    If I was considered only half the man my father is I would be the proudest man alive.
    It is totally down to my parents that, not only did I have an idyllic childhood but the most wonderful time growing up around them.
    As ever Aubrey, thank you for sharing.

  10. Your dad does sound completely awesome. You made a fine choice in fathers, and I commend you. I'm loving the bathing beauty photo.

  11. Sounds like an awesome guy- and totally hot pinup photos, too! Almost as cool as my dad. 😉 Do we get to see the shingling video?
    Was on a drive through the back roads this weekend, saw a street sign for "Aubrey Rd." Only the second time (after you) that I've seen your name!

  12. I always love reading what you write. Your dad sounds amazing!

  13. So, since he was SuperDad, does that make you SuperGirl?

  14. congratulations, aub! another TIG feature–and rightly so.

  15. This is really wonderful (as is everything you post). Hugs to Pop!!
    congrats on another well-deserved TIG!!!

  16. This made me a little weepy. The father I always wanted – so awesome. Congrats on [TIG] – you deserve it everyday, but they have to spread it around a little bit so the rest of us don't feel so bad.

  17. Another smash hit out of the story ballpark!

  18. Your dad is The Kind They Don't Make Any More. And they made damn few of them even then.He looks a lot like his father, as well.

  19. Congrats on the tig! Great post.

  20. Dammit, you made me cry.

  21. beautiful post, Aubrey. what a special father.and congrats on the [tig] – it's well-deserved

  22. [This is good twice over]
    What a wonderful post about a wonderful man. He must be as proud of you as you are of him.

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