Sunday, January 9, 2011

Remembering My Dad



Ten years ago today my father, John Emslie, celebrated his final birthday at the age of 78. Two months later he died, after a couple years of health problems and having undergone recent surgery. It's hard to believe it's been ten years since he passed away, and I've been thinking about him a lot lately. The above image was from the card I did for Christmas of that year, 2001, in memory of my dear Dad.

While we certainly had the same father/son tensions and arguments that most guys have, all in all we were pretty close. My Dad was always there for me, supporting my desire to follow a career path in the arts, and always ready and willing to lend a hand with house repair work and such. He put up some insulation and wood paneling in my first townhouse, and I think that was something he liked doing a lot, as our family homes through the years always ended up with many rooms getting wood paneling!

One thing I'll be eternally grateful to my Dad for was his influence on my taste in music. When I was just a young kid, we had this wonderful old hi-fi - pretty much just a wooden box on four legs, containing a radio and felt covered turntable. Dad loved to play music around the house, and mostly he played jazz records. While he never tried to force his music tastes on me or my sister, I was just naturally drawn to such artists as Louis Armstrong and New Orleans clarinetist, Pete Fountain. Also, my Dad was a huge fan of Bing Crosby, so every Christmas, Bing's holiday album containing his classic "White Christmas" got plenty of airplay. To this day, I can't listen to Bing Crosby without thinking about my Dad. Funnily enough, I don't recall Dad ever playing any Frank Sinatra, but I know my interest in Frank was a direct result of all the great music I grew up listening to at home back in the 60s and 70s.

So, as this holiday season winds down, I just wanted to celebrate my Dad's birthday with this posting of that Christmas card illustration I did way back in 2001, as I fondly remember the good times we had and the influence that he had on my life.
Happy Birthday, Dad!

11 comments:

Ted Blackman said...

Hi Pete, this is a very nice tribute to your Dad.
I can't believe I never stumbled onto you blog before, but I have now joined since I like to support other cartoonists. Check out my cartoon blog when you get a chance. -Ted

http://crotchetycomics.blogspot.com/

Chenny said...

great post Pete! really sweet and touching :)

Eric Noble said...

Truly sweet Mr. Emslie. Great drawing.

Eduardo G. Reyna said...

Very nice drawing and message.Only a few people is open enough to talk about such feelings and you do it in a very gentle way.
Again, really nice drawing.
Take care.

Sandra Loke said...

Very sweet tribute to your dad Pete!It was very touching

Amir Avni said...

Very endearing, Pete! Great detail in your illustration too :)

Kevin Parry said...

Great tribute for sure!

I bought a record player recently and was lucky enough to have my grandpa donate his Sinatra collection to start me off. I've also always listened to Bing Crosby around Christmas time and made sure to pick up a copy of White Christmas last year!

Howard Wright said...

Hi Pete. Thanks for this post. My dad had his turntable in our basement with a bar and would head down there after work to listen to the big band music he loved. I never learned to really appreciate his music, but understood the generational difference in tastes. My mom was more of a pop fan so Paul Simon, Carly Simon and James Taylor brings back memories of her to me. Funny how that works. My dad's 84 and I'm happy he's still around. He's even had me transfer some of his favorite albums to CD for listening in his car.

Adam Street said...

That's beautiful Pete!

Margaret Lindsay said...

Nicely put Pete.

Pokey said...

Glad to see your dad was a Bing Crosby fan, and you as well. Bing actually should be thanked by Sinatra fans.