No, not Dad. Dad is the wonderful man Mavis and I lost in 1995.
Daddy is the wonderful man Mavis and I found in 2010.
I mean really — who gets to experience this in a lifetime? How fortunate are we to have these two men in our hearts? All my sister and I can say is there is absolutely no feeling like it in the world. After decades of secrecy perpetuated by our mother (she obviously had her reasons, and we’re totally fine with that; we will always honor and love her), we’ve found our birth father through Ancestry.com, and as some of you already know, we can hardly explain — or contain — our joy. We’ve just waited for the right time to announce it to the world, and the day after Daddy’s birthday is as good as any. That, and it’s Ground Hog Day.
I’m sure you’ve read stories about long-lost relationships: children finding siblings, or parents finding children. You would think that finding a family member would be the best experience ever. Yet, I’ve read many accounts of awkward meetings, misunderstandings, hurt feelings, old resentments, and gradual partings because things just didn’t pan out the way either party envisioned. That’s what makes our tale even happier to tell. From our initial meeting back in August to this very morning, it’s been amazing. Mavis and I love him and his lovely wife more every day. How often does that happen in real life?
OK, on to the fotos. Sis wins in the lookalike department. She looks just like him. Their noses and coloring are identical. He’s funny, articulate (and heavy on the smart aleck, which explains where Mavis gets it, of course) and has a huge heart. And he adores us. Did I mention we felt he loved us from the minute he saw us?
Of course, I have to mention Daddy the musician. To tell you who all he’s played with over the years would be to drop quite a few names. He wrote a song that Ringo Starr recorded. He’s played with Opry people, blues people, had his own band, recorded albums, and played solo gigs. I like this picture:
And here’s one of his albums (not sure of the exact year — I’ll have to ask — but I’m going to guess somewhere between ’65 and ’68):
And talk about tight playing, in-tune singing, and a gorgeous, effortless tone…I’m not biased, really. Listen for yourself:
He wears leather, drives trucks, builds motorcycles, details cars. And in his spare time, he writes and plays music. The music…we get it from him. (Mavis is a talented musician; she just chose not to be a slave to it the rest of her life.) I think that out of all the amazing revelations of the past five months, the music thing blows me away the most.
I never knew why I had this burning passion to be a musician. Certainly, my parents never encouraged it (Dad was not musical at all, and Mother was a closet piano player but horribly shy — you’d never get her to perform in public). In fact, Mother was somewhat against it. She didn’t want me going off to Europe to sing in 1976. She did not like the idea of my going to New York in 1979 to audition for Norman Luboff, either (I never did go). Our parents wanted us to do music, but only in church. So why did I rebel and insist? I think it was because it was just “in me,” and it was something I had to do. Now it all makes sense. Like I told Mavis and some close friends: I know who I belong to now — it’s the guy in the ubiquitous leather hat and shades, with the irresistible Mississippi twang:
And of course, our young and beautiful stepmom! (He’s a lucky dog, oui?)
How fantastic is all this?
So if the parent you belong to is still living, call him or her tonight, just to say “I love you.” As my sister and I can tell you, the privilege of just being able to do so rarely presents itself twice in a lifetime.