We all hold this suspicion that my dad was secretly kind of famous. Everyone who I knew who knew Dennis ran into him regularly ranging around downtown with his hound. I suspect that hundreds of downtown-dwellers have noticed the dog and the cigar and the hat and thought "who is that guy?"
Recently our suspicions have been confirmed somewhat. A friend of Dennis' was talking about his passing and her friend said "Wait! I know that guy!" Turns out he took a picture out his car window. Just because.
Sometime, maybe soon, I'll try and articulate why this picture is as figuratively touching and perfect as it is literally kooky and touching and perfect.
(maybe here and now a little)
Last year when Dennis pulled 7 C-notes out of a cigar box with an art-dealer's business card, directions to the gallery, and a recommendation for a great German bakery in the neighborhood, my sister proposed I write it into a short story. We talked about working my brothers' efforts to guess Dennis's favorite author in order to access some of his records into a essay or story of sorts. My friend Amanda, too, suggested I write a speculative memoir of/for/about Dennis. And the idea, in addition to feeling daunting and impossible and potentially offensive to everyone, has this persistent tickle to it. Like I've sorted years of his life into chapters, started collecting info online (could Dennis have written a book called Your Mama Was Wrong I hope?) and watching BBC adaptations of LeCarre for source material/inspiration for The European Years.
There are some questions I have to answer first (I'm rereading The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and trying to imagine fitting Dennis into a similarly sparkling nostalgia): do I paint him as the suave secret agent we've always sort of imagined him to be? Can I write about my dad as a womanizer? Do I try and explain away the dark/sucky years with international intrigue or stick with dark and sucky? I want to do it. I probably won't let anyone read it. Tickle tickle tickle.