Dad and PBS

My Dad has been calling me a LOT lately over the past few days. This is a new experience for me, as we’ve never been terribly close. I’ve only reached out to him about once a year for the past several years, out of a sort of “eldest daughter” obligation. I’m not a bad daughter, it’s just that we don’t have much in common, and without Mom here (RIP) to craft the family get togethers, the whole family has sort of gone our own separate ways.1010705_10154159645360171_3285633151814910338_n

I guess I started this- I called him last week after we’d gotten together for lunch a couple of weeks before. What? I know. It was Christmas time after all, and two of my sisters are out of state so I worried he was sad or lonely. He wasn’t/isn’t. He’s actually becoming this new happy person, and…I like it. I like him suddenly. He’s eccentric as many 77 year olds can be, with no sensor. At our lunch in the tiny Cuban cafe, which was a major treat- I rarely go out to eat- he was being all convivial with the table next to us, he shared a huge tropical salad with me, eating avocados and mangoes for probably the first time in his life. I brought him a little drawing I made for him and put in a frame, of a big horn sheep ram. He loved it and said I must have spent hours drawing it. A side note about my Dad is that he graduated from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 1957, he had intended to be a car designer in Detroit after he graduated, but his parents for some reason called him back home. He’s a very skilled but unfulfilled artist.

During our delicious lunch (he ate Cuban food, including black beans!) I made a conscious effort to tell him my favorite childhood memories that involve him. Watching those classic Nature Shows together, especially Marty Stouffer’s Wild America. How he taught me how to draw as a girl, pulling out random little plastic “ark animals” to sketch together from the case in which there were literally thousands of tiny plastic animals of all shapes and colors. How he taught me to love jazz and classical music by dragging us to free concerts regularly, how he used to take us to visit pet stores on the weekends between his visits to car dealerships, where we’d happily eat as much free food as we could, and he’d get his car fix. We laughed and reminisced and found a common place- our memories.

I’d called him a couple weeks after our pleasant lunch, to let him know our farm was going to be on PBS. Channel 2, as we called it where I grew up, was a HUGE part of my childhood and our family. Like I mentioned in my other post- he loved to watch the Nature Shows with us, but would shed a tear when the lions hunted the zebras. We even went to the Channel 2 station for a taping of the show Newton’s Apple, if anyone remembers that program. I knew he’d be especially excited that our farm was going to be on this channel, and indeed he was. He couldn’t believe it! WOW he said. After I’d called him to give him the day and time, he called me back twice to make sure he had it right, he’s getting old, he said, and just wanted to make sure he’d written it down correctly.

After the airing, he called me back two more times, leaving ominous sounding voicemails- Khaiti, call me tonight please. I got back in touch with him last night and it was adorable. He wanted to make sure I’d noticed the chef at the end of the segment was using DUCK EGGS, can you imagine it? he said. I said I’m pretty sure that was sort of planned, Dad, to make the show come full circle. He said I need to get that chef a thank you or something. He was just thrilled for us. He’d called all his friends to tell them to watch it too. It made my heart glow because my Dad hasn’t shown much in the way of fatherly pride since I had been an obedient youngster. I wondered if he thought of Mom when he saw me talking on film, if it made him sad at all, but I didn’t ask. I was just so happy that he was overjoyed.

The Victory Garden’s ediblefeast episodes are still being held privately by PBS, but as soon as I can, I will share the link. It was filmed last summer, and the filmmakers did a wonderful job. Daniel and Mirra of the Perennial Plate are such sweet and amazingly talented people, and I can’t help but wonder if we’d said no to his last minute request to come film our turkey harvest back in 2010, would we have had the honor of being chosen for this project? There are plenty of AMAZING farmers in our region, so to be picked and have a chance to speak up for sustainable, ethical farming from our perspective is really, really incredible. Thank you to all my friends and family and amazing customers- we are Living the Dream because you are at our side!

Here’s a little clip, not the PBS show, but all about our farm:


9 thoughts on “Dad and PBS

  1. Awesome story. I’m so glad you’re reconnecting with your Dad – it sounds to me like he’s reaching out too. Relationships take a lot of work on both sides. And, congrats on the PBS show! I didn’t see it because we don’t have cable, and I have no idea if it even aired on the Seattle PBS (which the most local station to us). That’s what I get for not watching TV. Hopefully it will be online eventually.

    1. Thank you!!! Things feel good, and getting such positive feedback on this piece is really reinforcing how important it is to have a relationship with him. I am sure the episode will be online soon, there’s apparently 30 episodes this season, each on featuring a different region in the US. Good stuff! have you seen any of he Perennial Plate’s series? They have a bunch of shorts on their site- really cool story tellers, they started in MN but ended up travelling the US, and then lately they did an international series too.

  2. I can’t wait to watch this..that is so cool!
    I like the way you wrote this story, a lot. You are a natural.
    I’m the oldest of 3 girls and was with my Mother when she died. We dont get together any more either. Nice how you made your visit with your Dad enjoyable for both of you. My father is 79 and I try to do that too …have to get creative because we have nothing but the past in common, lol.

    1. thanks Cynthia so much. So sorry about your Mom too. i had a hard time finding common ground with my Dad since we are so different, until i remembered the past, and tried to see things from his perspective.

  3. khaiti, this was awesome to read, for many reasons! your relationship with your dad, your ability to focus on the touching things youve shared with him, how he’s changing, youre changing, your PBS spotlight…things dont get much better than this. thanks for sharing. love coral~

  4. I’m looking forward to seeing the video. It’s so important that people become informed about this kind of farming. Thanks for being a part of it. 🙂

    Sometimes I feel so busy and absorbed with life here that I keep putting off calling or visiting my mother, thinking I’ll just do it tomorrow. Days and even weeks can go by that way. Thanks for the reminder to be more purposeful about that. 🙂

    1. It’s hard work maintaining relationships, but worth it. It’s also ok to do as you need to in different periods of life! I have to admit too I felt that he hadn’t made the effort, so why should I…and I was so busy the past few years, I just brushed off my feelings, but this feels much better. Parents, it’s funny we don’t owe them anything, but we owe them everything. ps I love your profile pic!

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