Dad was a serial early adopter,
from the first time I pointed out a hopdopper.
We had Pong and a teletype stashed where he sleeps,
And Betamax tapes, the first music CDs,
Sol 20 then Apple, PC Junior and Mac,
a two-floppy laptop, and disks by the stack.
His imposing wall of electronic devices…
for others, his TV begat often crises,
A frustrated “Ugh! Four remotes, how absurd!”
Punctuated by expletives squawked by his bird.
Neighbors were puzzled by his 80-foot tower
and a big backyard satellite dish that did scour
the skies for movies to win his affection,
after exhausting all local cinemas’ selection.
He loved science fiction and period films,
Star Trek and also the Day Earth Stood Still,
Ten Commandments, Flash Gordon, and even Ben Hur,
We all played hooky to see Star Wars Episode Four.
On trips to computer shops we turned all the knobs,
and at nine, as a team, we met Woz and Steve Jobs,
Again as a duo we drove ‘cross the Bay,
to Larkspur to learn programming the low-level way.
At one PC faire, he went into a booth,
and told the gal running it something uncouth,
“Let my high-school age son have a go at rewriting
your cookbook program. It could be more exciting!”
And redo their software I did with his shove,
I learned I could be paid to do what I love.
He taught me to concentrate by blasting his shows,
and giving us all some gun-range headphones,
He even strengthened my writing by flagging misuse
of “fifty cent words”, when a “dime word” would do.
He gave me my first chance at earning some dough,
and trusted my middle-school skills on payroll.
Some Saturday nights, the evening would start,
with dinner at Melo’s, and pinball at Art’s.
Other times we’d end up on impromptu vacations,
with no change of clothes and no reservations.
Weekends always kept family spirit alive,
Flea markets, or tide pools, some kind of long drive,
State fairs for cow-milking, submarines in the port,
Air shows, or other things of that sort.
After butting heads months about taking a trip,
‘round the West with my girlfriend Sita, he quipped,
“It’s better to let go of you too soon than stay strong
and stubbornly hold on to you for too long.”
When grandkids arrived, Emma and Amina,
Even trips to the zoo or Exploratorium they’d seen a
hundred times over were always improved,
by being with Grampy, that curious dude.
After numerous jobs were more struggle than fun,
later in life his “computer guy” run,
was better than brokering, t-shirts, or slices.
Helping with software and printing devices,
made him the big fish in his little pond,
until he chose to wave the retirement wand.
When iPhone came out, that magic contraption
captivated his interest: apps were his passion.
He must have had thousands, if only to play;
something to fiddle with every hour of the day.
What he loved very much was watching his kids
accomplish great feats, everything that we did.
And watching the grandkids grow up so quick,
their every move magic, to him a new trick,
to impress him again and fill him with wonder,
at the incredibly fortunate spell he lived under.
Two more smiles were added with Mari and Javi,
who offered to Dad a repeat role as “Bobby”.
When four cousins would play at home in July,
Dad relished those moments as they went by,
and wished that they could last a lot longer,
I’m sure he’ll keep watch on us all from up yonder.