Sunday, April 30, 2017

Treasured Moments between Father and Son

One of my great blessings in life was to fall in love with Alvadell “Abby” Moser 50 years ago this year.  We were blessed to begin our married life together 48 years ago (June 14, 1967), and then to become parents of two children, Bradley and Melinda (Mindy).  Alvadell and I enjoyed many happy years with our children, and this enjoyment has continued since they married and established homes of their own.

Brad and Mindy inherited Grandma's athleticism.
While they were children, it was not unusual for each of us to spend time with either Brad or Mindy separately, one-on-one, in addition to regular family activities.  We played softball, football, Takraw, and other games in the back yard and worked together in the garden.   Because we lived in different parts of the Midwest and eastern seaboard, we were able to visit many scenic wonders and historical sites, but for Brad and Mindy, there was nothing quite as special as visiting their grandparents and cousins.

As Brad and Mindy advanced into adolescence and young adulthood, graduated from college, and matured into their own social relationships leading to career and marriage, our times with them were mostly afforded through family and peer group activities.   One-on-one occasions between son or daughter and parent became fewer for good reasons.  Happily, the relative rarity of our one-on-one’s ended up being even more special.
Some one-on-one's were not as fun
as others; here, potato digging.
Today, I was reminded of a notable one-on-one activity that Brad invited me to share with him one year ago this month.  He invited me to accompany him on a road trip to Cortland, NY and the 2016 Blackbird Film Festival where his “short-short” film, Pride & Poo, had been selected for screening at the festival.

The road trip to and from Cortland afforded us time for extended conversation on a variety of topics of mutual interest.  We talked about Brad’s goals for the upcoming years and how dad was getting along in his retirement years.  We agreed that our views of life have been converging somewhat as the relative difference in our ages continues to narrow.

I especially appreciated Brad’s challenges to me as an older man to stay committed to the spiritual disciplines and values that have sustained me during years past.  As Brad knows, I sometimes display a tendency to look back in time and to “second guess” certain decisions I have made in the past.  He also knows that I have needed wisdom to discern my limits when I try to come alongside family members and friends who are experiencing difficulties in their lives.  It is a great blessing and gift to me as a father from his son to receive from Brad a well balanced measure of respect and challenge to apply godly wisdom in areas where there is risk of my becoming sidelined.

The Blackbird Film Festival itself was an enjoyable experience for me.  The overall program was structured so that film makers and other attendees could choose which film categories and concurrent screening sessions they would attend.  I was quite at home with this format because of its similarity to the many scientific conferences I had attended, except there seemed to never be a dull moment at this festival.   It also became clear to us that the festival had drawn some very good quality short films, documentary shorts, and international shorts. 
Bradley in a Q & A after screening of Pride & Poo
It was a unique highlight for me to share in the elation of the moments during which Brad’s film, Pride & Poo, was shown at the festival.  I knew, mostly from a distance but also from Brad’s invitation to assist in a small amount of the filming, how much time and sweat he had invested to develop expertise as a film maker and then to apply his skill and creativity to bring Pride & Poo to the screen.  The result is an enjoyable four and one-half minutes of viewing that humorously conveys the age-old biblical message that Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18).

As with most screening sessions, the session in which Pride & Poo was featured allowed time afterwards for the respective film makers to field questions.  Again, it was a blessing for me as a dad to observe his son interacting with other film makers, encouraging them, sharing techniques he had learned, and learning some new approaches from them.
A memorable road trip, April, 2016
In all, we were both quite elated and pleased with the Blackbird Film Festival and the opportunity to meet festival organizer Sam Avery and his hard working staff as well as many other film makers.   The trip home seemed to go by in a breeze while we reflected on the experience, remembered many of the films shown, and the privilege of interacting with many of the film makers we were blessed to meet. 

And so, I congratulate you once again, Brad, on your success with Pride & Poo and thank you again for allowing me to share in a film festival experience with you.   I would also thank you, Brad, for the sentiments you shared in your Facebook posting after the trip (April, 2016), as follows:

"Having your film selected as one of 100 selections out of 1538 entries at a great festival:  Very Cool.
Attending the festival and meeting tons of great people:  Awesome.
Having your film nominated for Best Narrative Short:   Exhilarating.
Finding out that your film won the Special Jury Award:  Unbelievable.
Road trip to New York with your Dad:  PRICELESS."

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