Editor's Note: Kurt A. Eichsteadt writes about movies, restaurants, the recently departed and all sorts of other things for the Gazette. But he didn't know what to do with this. We decided it is "Another View."
What do Father’s Day and Superman have in common?
Well, to start with, we know more about Superman’s father than a lot of other superheroes.
And a Superman movie brought back some good feelings about my father and fathers in general awhile back.
It was Father’s Day, and I was attending a screening of the Superman film “Man of Steel.”
Right before the movie started, a teenager came in and asked me if I would move over one seat. Not a problem.
“Man of Steel” opens with the origin story for Superman. As an infant, he was sent into space when the planet of his birth (Krypton) was doomed. He landed on Earth, where a childless couple took him in and raised him on their farm in the Midwest.
Most of the movie is typical Superman/superhero stuff with Superman having to save the world from the evil General Zod. But when he’s not busy with Zod, Superman reflects on both his fathers — the natural father he never knew and the adopted father who provided love and guidance.
All of this made me think even more than usual about my father, even though he’s been gone more than a decade.
My dad was a great father. He taught me to do the right thing, how to balance a checkbook, the love of reading and the proper way to treat women.
I grew up in Wisconsin (I think that qualifies as Midwest) and people were pretty reserved about their feelings. There was no doubt at all about the love my parents had for me, but unlike other families, every conversation or phone call didn’t end with “Love You.” “Love you too.”
Dad was a cool dad. In many ways, I didn’t realize how cool he was until I was much older.
It’s like the saying I didn’t realize how smart my parents were until I reached middle age.
My dad had his doctorate in Educational Psychology. I have his doctoral thesis on my bookshelf and open it from time to time. I still have no clue what it’s about.
He was a highly educated man, but still quite the regular guy.
Mark Twain gets the credit for this saying “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”
Same thing about cool. I didn’t realize how cool he was until I was in my 30s. That's when this childhood memory came back.
We were on our way home late one Saturday day evening when he heard a song on the radio that he really liked. When he got home, he wrote himself a note to remember the name.
The song was “Kind of Blue.” The artist was Miles Davis. For people of a certain age, Miles Davis is the definition of cool.
It’s powerful stuff, even played today. It's made even more so for me by the fact that my mind was already filled with thoughts of my own father.
In the “Man of Steel,” Superman is dealing with his feelings about the natural father he never knew and the adoptive father who took care of him.
As I sat there watching the credits, the young man who had asked me to move said, “Thanks for moving over. I wanted to sit next to my father on Father’s Day.”
Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers everywhere.