Pop, Michael, and Old Man

I’m low on energy, and high on meaning tonight.  Not a good combo, as I’m unlikely to bring them around to a logical conclusion, barely anything rational in the outcome, I’m afraid.  But, as always, I’ll give it my best shot, and wake up tomorrow, wondering, WTF?

Pop:  the name Owen and Nat always called their father.  Michael and I chose it, early in our boys’ lives.  Not sure why, can’t remember the history.  Dad, Daddy, Father, and other paternal monikers seemed awkward, so Pop it was. 

Michael: the name I always called Nat and Owen’s father, my husband at the time we gave birth to our two sons.  Much of his birth family called him “Mike”, and that didn’t work for me.  Don’t know why.  Mike just seemed too common, or plain, when in fact, he was anything but plain.

Old Man:  what Nat and Owen called their father in the last few months/years, as Michael was growing older (aren’t we all?), and this nickname felt somehow, what? less attached?  It was okay to recognize their father growing older, as long as they no longer called him “Pop”.   To his face, they continued calling him “Pop” but in referring to him, they called him “the Old Man”.  Nat loves it that Ruby calls his father, “Old Man”.  We’ve laughed about it often, and now when I leave Michael’s house, even I call him “Old Man”.  I rather like it.  I wonder what he calls me when I’m not around.  (Thinking back, I remember some of the names he called me after our divorce, and don’t care to hear them again, really.) 

So, now that Ruby, Nat’s stepdaughter, is spending a lot of time with the larger Riley/Siniard/Tegnell family, she most often hears Michael referred to as “Old Man”.  I don’t know if she knows his real name.  When she talks directly to him, she says, “Old Man, can you turn on the TV, and push my chair in?” or something along those lines.  He smiles, and says, “Sure.”  Then, he moves furniture, changes channels, or puts in a DVD of an appropriate nature, and goes on with his stories for the rest of us, barely interrupted by Ruby’s requests.  An Old Man, indeed.

Owen loved Neil Young’s music, and I believe he always thought this song would make more sense as he grew older, than it does now.  Owen did not reach the age of 24, so we can only assume that he got (and sent) the message, no matter the details.  Owen thought Neil Young had unique qualities, so made some of Young’s songs, the first he learned to sing and play on guitar.  I can still hear him singing them when my mind is quiet, and the nights are long. 

Song for the night:  Old Man, Neil Young

http://youtube.com/watch?v=73hHRfOuooc

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~ by Linda on September 23, 2007.

One Response to “Pop, Michael, and Old Man”

  1. I still have Michael’s handkerchief that he offered me at the memorial. I needed it for this song.I had to play it twice. I remember the last Friday. Owen, Michael and I on the deck , Owen standing next to Michael while we chatted about nothing in particular. I was moving that day and as Owen climbed into “Pop’s van after helping me carry things down the steps he turned and said “Bye Lea kell, I love you too.”

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