My Big Fish

Extract from the eulogy I delivered for my father last year:

“He loved to laugh, and he loved to make other people laugh . . . and I ask that everyone here today think about my dad and remember and share a story that makes you laugh, or at least smile, before you go home today. And if you can’t think of one right off the top of your head, then feel free to come and talk to me or Paige [my sister] after the service today, because we’ve got more than enough to share with everybody. For instance . . . over the years, Paige and I have traveled all over the United States and Europe, and we’ve eaten in some of Western Hemisphere’s finest dining establishments. So if you ask us to name our most memorable meals, we’d be able to narrow it down pretty easily to two. Now, the first one of those meals, we weren’t actually there for . . . but our Dad told us about eating at Las Carascolas in Barcelona, Spain so many times that we remember it better than we would have if we had eaten the meal ourselves. When Paige visited Spain, she had her picture taken out in front of Las Carascolas, but didn’t go in, because anything that happened inside wouldn’t have lived up to the way that we see it in our minds’ eyes from our Dad’s vivid recollections. The second most memorable meal that we ever shared was during a summer vacation on Hilton Head, on a day when our mom had left Dad in charge of making lunch for me and Paige. And so the two of us have fond memories to this day of the life-like and lovingly crafted Spam Lamb and Spam Ram that we shared that afternoon with Dad.”

Tip of the iceberg stuff and all that, but a small glimmer into why Big Fish has touched us all so deeply, especially when you consider its Southern setting and my Southern roots, and the fact that as a Marine Corps Officer, my dad was away during much of my childhood. I did the vigil with my dad during his final hours, but unlike in the movie, he never woke up. So we didn’t get to talk then, but I still have his stories.

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