The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My Father Who Art In Heaven

              Bob Jackson  January 14, 1923 --September 9, 1990

         When I was a child, a portrait of my father sat on a table in our living room.  This was one of my favorite pictures in all the world.   In the photograph my father serenely sits with his right hand resting on top of his left as he comtemplates something to his right field of vision.  He is neatly dressed in suit and tie and his hair is immaculately groomed.  The background is dark except for a luminescent corona which backlights his shoulders.

          Sometimes I would gaze thoughtfully at the portrait.  In that strangely multidimensional way that children are able to think,  I would wonder who the man was.  He looked like my father and yet did not seem to be the same person who I would see in the evenings, often loud, sometimes funny, sometimes angry,  and always outgoing to strangers and friends alike.  The man in the picture was quiet and absorbed. What was he looking at?  What was he thinking?  Did he know me?

        Of course, I knew that it was really my father in the picture, but then again I pondered the possibility that it might be  another version of my father who I could only see in the portrait.  Occasionally I would tell my sister that the picture made it look like our father had died and gone to heaven.  With the aura of light behind him he looked like an angel to me.

         When my father was at home I paid no attention to the picture unless he had become angry and yelled at me.  In my fear, through my tears, I might catch the alternate reality daddy in the picture and be reminded that the real daddy would not be angry forever; and that even as I cried his angelic countenance might be watching me from some hidden place.  These thoughts would bring peace to me and make me sorry that I had misbehaved.

            Over the years, after we had moved a few times and I was older, I don't recall seeing this picture around our home anymore.   But the image stayed in my heart and held a sweet place in my memory.  Then a few years after my father died in 1990, my mother sent me a copy of the portrait.  She knew that I had always liked this picture.

             The framed picture now sits in the center of a display of family pictures in the home where my wife and I  live.  In fact, it's right in the hall outside the office where I work.  I often look at it as I frequently pass by it during the day.  Sometimes I pause a moment to reflect upon the peaceful gaze of my father who looks like an angel in heaven.     


  1. That was thoughtful of your mother to remember you liked the photo.

    My father died when I was a child, so I never got a chance to know him as a real man. Fortunately, all of the photos show the same warm, thoughtful person I remember.

  2. Oh, my friend, what a great tribute and heartwarming story. That is a great photo isn't it?

  3. Some feel pictures capture the inner person as much as the outer. Whether that's true or not, I don't know. But a picture does capture the person at that one moment.

    I'm glad you have this picture now in your home so you can see it every day. We have a wall of family pictures at the top of the stairs and I like looking at them as I go up.

    Straight From Hel

  4. What a regal, centered disposition your Dad has in this classic pic. Nice.

  5. that is such a nice photo! No wonder you treasure it! I have one of my father also - very unlike your dad's pose, he's hanging with his buds with a cigarate pack rolled under his shirt sleeve. But I treasure it like you do.

  6. This is a lovely picture Lee! He does look dashing!

  7. Shortly after our last child moved out we converted a bedroom into what we now call the computer room.

    It has also become the room where we display a lot of our old photos on the walls. In fact, the room is almost wall to wall photos.

    One of my favorites is a 1906 photo of my maternal grandparent's horse and buggy wedding picture. I often wonder what it was like in the early 1900's for my grandparents.

    God bless you, Ron

  8. Photos of those we love are always nice. Your mother was thoughtful in giving this one to you.

    I have an award for you at my blog.

  9. Hi I thought this post intriuging as you write about your father, you see Lee my own father passed away suddenly when I was three so I can't remember him, I only have 2 pictures of him one in army uniform and the other I guess towards the end of his life, they look so different yet I wonder how much he changed in the intervening years. I often wonder also would my life be any different if he had lived.
    I really got into your post very parallel to my own dad.
    Thanks for this wonderful write.


  10. Thank you for visiting my blog. Please come again soon.

    I've enjoyed reading several posts in your blog and will visit again soon.

    You are so blessed to have such a nice photo of your father.

    Almond Roca, Heath or Skor - my vote is for the Heath bar.

  11. This is a very nice post and a reflection of one that is no longer with you. My father died when I was young and I have only glimpes of what he was like and we have pictures also. Thank you for coming by.

  12. Daddy is an angel in heaven. He watches out after us every day.

  13. rLEE-b...
    I love it (which is reflected in my "Reaction" vote at the bottom of the Blog Bit).

    Sir, your words were very poignant and worthy of the photograph itself - which I too find myself drawn to even though I never knew the man pictured in it. Somehow or other, I can sense what it was about that photo that held such a fascination for you. I "get it", Brother. Somehow, I get it!

    If you ever decide to put together a "Best Of 'Tossing It Out' Collection", I nominate this Blog Bit for inclusion.

    ~ "Lonesome Dogg" McMe

  14. What a wonderful picture, and a great entry. Thanks for sharing your personal memories of your dad for us.

  15. My sincere thanks to all who have commented so far. It means a great deal to me. For those of you who had fathers who died when you were young, I'm sorry that you didn't get to experience growing up with yours. I wish my father could have been around longer, but he made it until I was almost 40 and that gave me a chance to grow with him I see him from many different aspects.

  16. Ron -- We did much the same as you after our kids left. One of their bedrooms became my wife's office and another became my office. Both rooms, as well as the hall way are filled with family pictures and memories always reminding of happy past times.

    Carole-- Thank you for the wonderful award. Helps make my everyday posting a little more worthwhile. I will adress it on my Saturday post.

    OK Granny -- thanks for visiting and I will look forward to more visits in the future.

    Joy -- do you have a copy of that picture? Didn't you always like to look at it when we were kids?

    St McC -- You made my day with your comment. Now I feel badly that my comment on your got you down the other day. But you know how much I respect you and your writing and I think you understood what I was saying. Thanks for your kind words and loyal support.

  17. Don't give it a second thought, my Brother. There is one thing that I value head and shoulders over all else, and that is "The Truth." As I have said many times over the years in a variety of ways: I would choose an unpleasant truth over a pleasant lie every single time!

    I never want anything but your HONEST feedback to whatever I might write. The day you feel tempted to leave a slightly dishonest comment in order to avoid hurting my feelings or in order to avoid disappointing me in some way, that is the day you should just leave no comment at all.

    Or, to put all of this in a nutshell: I'z all good, dude!

    ~ "Lonesome Dogg" McTruth

  18. I do have a copy of that picture and I always looked at it and loved it.

  19. I loved this picture of papa also!

  20. Great picture! He could easily pass for a movie star :)

    My dad died several years ago. My favourite picture of him is in prominent position in my living room. My 2 kids are with him. It's when they're young & the photo captures his absolute joy in his grandkids. Love it.

  21. What a very lovely remembrance of your father.

  22. The old pictures do hold such uniqueness to them, a sort of clarity. Thank you for sharing this childhood memory.
    Thanks for your comment on my blog, I would love to go and visit DC someday! I think there is more culture there than Northern MN!

  23. Jemi -- It's funny you should mention the movie star thing. Maybe I thought the same thing when I was little because I used to go around singing my own little made up song about "Bob Jackson the Movie Star". I wish my kids would have had more time with their grandfather.

    Cheryl -- thanks for your visit.

    JeMa -- Thanks for coming to visit and following. I have a cousin up in Minneapolis area and I hope to go up there someday--it's a pretty part of the country, although I'm not sure about winter never been there then (I'm sure it's nice to look at, but I don't know about the cold). Also like art. I have a daughter in NJ who is an artist-- I did a story about her back in November. Hope you come back often.

    and I enjoy good art.

  24. That was by far my favorite photo of Papa but I also love the photos of him holding juggling clubs and smiling from ear to ear. I think he was all of the things you mentioned. That's what made him who he was.

  25. I love this picture of Daddy. We also have this picture displayed in our home. Thanks for a great story!

  26. That was such a sweet article. That is so nice that you have that picture with you now.


Go ahead and say something. Don't be afraid to speak your mind.
I normally try to respond to all comments in the comment section so please remember to check the "Email follow-up comments" box if you want to participate in the comment conversation.

For Battle of the Bands voting the "Anonymous" commenting option has been made available though this version is the least preferred. If voting using "anonymous" please include in your comment your name (first only is okay) and city you are voting from and the reason you chose the artist you did.

If you know me and want to comment but don't want to do it here, then you can send me an email @ jacksonlee51 at aol dot com.