With a preponderance of thoughts of the loves that bring me joy filling my Romance review cap my father suddenly came to mind. Fathers often define what romance becomes for their daughters : what we see with “starry eyes”. The qualities I espoused in my Romance blog three years ago were undeniably shaped by my father’s example and still stand as my measuring stick for that true essence. It is not just a list of characteristics I realize now, but the container that has grown to hold all my lifestyle choices. My father was not an academically educated man. His dreams of that were fettered by his family’s poverty, but over the years I watched him charm and fascinate all types of worldly folks. His surprisingly extensive knowledge (probably amassed during off-duty hours reading in his marine engineer’s bunk) consistently turned attitudes of sophisticated snobbery into genuine respect. Even when the change came begrudgingly, the bottom line was that he effected change, usually totally unintentionally. He simply engaged life and all beings, wholeheartedly. What made him so unique is that he simply dug into the daily business of life and lived it while catching the myriad flying balls it threw at him with the finesse and humor of a juggler. No bystander left a first meeting with my Dad without having learned to catch or juggle a few balls of life as love in action. My dad may very well have experienced romances unknown to us while he sailed the earth, but on leave he surrounded us with a safety and security of love that was anything but abstract or theoretical, a true Romance with feet firmly grounded in family.
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