HERCULES ~ by Dan Buchner
Sliding slowly into dusk.
A starry pilot’s dream.
Distant flash clash of thunder
By Mother’s scathing screams,
Amongst the scorched mangled tangle of metal and detritus
You had left us
On this earth
Not knowing what to expect, I dialled the number. A woman answered. I asked if I could speak with Paul. She asked who was calling. I explained to her that I was the son of Jack Buchner; that Paul and my father had flown together for many years in the Air Force; and my father had been killed in a plane crash when I was very young.
After 40 years I was trying to get to know my father better and would like to speak with Paul. He would no doubt have many stories to share about him. There was pause before the woman said she was very sorry but Paul had passed away last year. I expressed my condolences and hung up. Time was running out.
After my father was killed I had done as my grandfather had asked of me. I didn’t cry, I became the man of the house and did the best I could, at that young age, to take care of my mother, sister and brother. Dad was gone. Best to just move forward. I tried to keep him out of my mind. Occasionally though, in the dark of night I would cry and try to keep myself from believing he was really on a secret mission somewhere. Maybe, just maybe, he would walk through the door the next morning. That morning never came.
All that I knew about my father came from my relatives. They always spoke very highly of him. He became a mythological figure, an elusive deity, in whose shadow I had to strive. Now, 40 years later, I began to wonder what he was really like. Had he worn anything other then a crisp uniform or flight suit? Had he ever screwed up? Could he have been just a regular guy? And what would he think of me, his son?
Yes, time was running out so I returned to his pilot’s logbooks and found another co-pilot named Peter who had flown with him many times. Somehow I was able to locate him and made arrangements to visit him in his east coast home. A few weeks later I arrived at his front door. I hesitated. I knocked. He answered.
Sitting in his living room I began to recount our family’s life after dad’s death. In mid-sentence he stopped me. I looked up; tears were in his eyes. “Dan, it’s like I’m listening to your father.” My heart stopped. “Your father was a fine man who evidenced a quiet, but firm personality; a confident pilot. He was like the older brother I never had.” Numbness began to fill my chest; years of ache bubbling to the surface.
My mind was racing, frantically chasing thoughts I had never had before. I’m like my father? A quiet but firm personality? Confident in his endeavors? Like an older brother? Slowly, ever so slowly, I began to realize that while looking for my father, I had finally found myself.
Guest Author Bio
Dan Buchner, CEO and Founder, praktikel inc. is an award-winning designer, leadership facilitator, educator and author of the book – How Might We Champion Design Thinking in Your Organization?
Dan draws on his practical experiences in business and life to shift thinking, transform perspectives, and inspire action at the intersection of innovation, leadership and learning.
Blog / Website: https://www.danbuchner.com