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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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The Slice

Sometimes you can look but not really see

My father didn't know anything about marketing.

If he had, I feel certain he would have been more effective at promoting some of his ideas.

For instance, there was the time he decided I ought to learn the names of the stars in a few of the prominent celestial constellations.

He was a navigator for at least part of his Air Force career. Perhaps he thought since he had to learn the stars, his son should, too.

I was a teenager at the time, so naturally I tried as hard as I could to show him I was about to black out from boredom.

Despite that, I still remember the names of a couple of the stars in the Big Dipper -- Megrez and Dubhe. (I had to look up the spellings.) Don't ask me which ones they are.

So what should my father have done differently? Simple. He could have put a guiding hand on my shoulder and said the magic words.

"Girls will be impressed."

But I think he viewed the whole exercise more along the lines of learning for learning's sake.

Of course, it turned out that girls were, in fact, impressed. It would be nice to think I reported this to him. But it has been a long time now. I just don't remember.

Maybe he knew that would be the case but realized that if he said so I would automatically dismiss any suggestions on the subject.

My father had profound macular degeneration in the last years of his life. So we didn't do any star-gazing after he and my mother moved to Spokane in 2000.

But sometimes at night I think about standing in our Vermont driveway and listening to him talk about the stars.

If I had a do-over, I would have invited girl friends over to the house after dark and introduced them to my father.

"Dad, would you give Jane a tour of the constellations?" I would have said.

I think he might have gotten a kick out of that. Or perhaps he would have politely suggested I do the honors myself.

The Slice

The online home for Paul Turner's musings and interactions with disciples of The Slice.