great steves: my dad

I love this picture of me, my dad, and my sister. I had a very noisy toy called the Big Mouth Singers when I was small, and I am pretty sure I am emulating it here. My sister is emulating a spud. My dad - well, he's just his own cool self. He's been that way his whole life - in high school, the kids called him Ziggy, as in Ziggy Stardust. When he got a little older and was working guiding canoe tours for inner city kids, those kids called him Steve Austin. This innate coolness was not enough for me, however. When I was little, I used to tell everyone that a family friend named Tim McKenzie was my father. It made for fun explanations from my parents.

Before I knew better, I assumed everyone's dad played in bands, raised bees, drove a park truck, and could name all of the trees in a forest (I still think everyone's dad should be able to do that). I thought all dads listened to everything from Ry Cooder to Thelonius Monk to the Pretenders and could tell you engrossing stories about Gram Parsons being buried in the desert and Stephen Stills and Bonnie Bramlett righteously punching out Elvis Costello. I figured it was no uncommon thing to have a father who took you for midnight hikes in the woods, taught you to walk without making a sound, and told you beautiful stories about the starry night sky.

I think I was about eight when I realized the truth - not only was my dad one of a kind, he was freaking cool. I'm still trying to live up to the legacy.

Happy Father's Day, Steve.

(My attempts at cool started early. That's me on the far right.)