Father's Day, 1998
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Stephen R. Savitzky)
Subject: TOAST: To My Father
Date: 21 Jun 1998 23:53:56 -0700
Organization: Grand Central Starport
The Mandelbear has been fading in and out for some time; during the last
few years he has only been present long enough to post the occasional
party announcement, and an annual toast on August 4th. Mike Callahan
reaches for the red ceramic bottle of genever, but the 'bear stops him:
``I'll have a Manhattan tonight, Mike.'' He takes an appreciative sip,
and eats the cherry. A few more sips. ``My father taught me to drink,
you know, before our family trip to Europe in -- what? '65? Must have
been. These were one of our favorites.'' Another sip, and he walks up
to the chalk line.
The Light Of Reality shines on that end of the line a little, and the
'bear flickers for a moment between medium-sized teddybear (his first
guise in the Place a few months after its founding), four-dimensional
fractal, and greying hacker. It's a man on the far side of fifty who
stands there eventually; the light is just dim enough to leave a virtual
T-shirt that reads ``Hill? What hill? I didn't notice any hill...''
He sends the glass into the fire with a practiced, if not graceful,
throw. ``To my father -- happy father's day!'' The flames burn a
brighter yellow, mainly the 589nm Sodium lines from the smaller
particles of glass.
``My father -- damn; this is hard. We found out a few months ago that
he has pancreatic cancer. I've been out to Florida a couple of times
since then to see him; my brother and I were both there for his birthday
last month. He's on hospice care now; no telling how much time we
have. It's not enough. I did tell him he should have his pacemaker
checked for Year-2000 compliance, though.
``Dad's the one who got me interested in computers, all those years ago.
Science fiction, too; between the two he's mostly responsible for my
being here in Callahan's Place. Taught me to drink, taught me to fish,
introduced me to folk singing, taught me -- damn near everything
important, I guess. I never did learn how to say `thank you' and
`goodbye' to someone like that.''
``Come on over here,'' a voice says, ``before you get tears on the
chalk line. Come on, Eddie--play _The Mary Ellen Carter_ before he gets
too soggy for me.'' It seems to come from a place near the X windows; a
dusty table where the mechs hang out. 28X. The voice may have come
from an AI built into a guitar. The Mandelbear left her there a long
time ago. Maybe he should spend some time in the Place again.
Fast Eddie launches into Stan Rogers' great song of defiance; Callahan's
Place erupts in music; the Mandelbear, a mug of beer in hand, goes off
to join his friends. And Steve Savitzky trundles off to bed, having
gotten his post off just before midnight at the end of Father's Day.
$Id: father-s.day.html,v 1.1 2002/08/05 07:22:30 steve Exp $
Stephen R. Savitzky <steve@theStarport.org>