Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Current market value: $89

Bat Masterson's Creede
by Tony Clark

I'm missing Dad today.

It's a different kind of grief than I've experienced before.
Healthier, I think.

I'm not even sure what brought it to the surface. I think it may have started with the need to talk about Dad -- his faith and his death -- in my paper to the District Committee on Ordained Ministry. But the writing itself didn't trouble me.

There have been a few things lately that have given me that "I wish I could call Dad" feeling. I know Dad would actually delight in the fact that Ryan is still genuinely ticked (a journalism word came to mind here first) that Dad died without taking him fishing again. I've got to get that boy fishing soon. Dad would like that Ryan is so passionate about fishing that he's ticked. I can hear Dad laughing even as I write this.

And the fact that Ryan is an independent reader now and the fact that we all discovered it accidentally during Holy Week would be a story Dad would love, too. It brought Mom to tears.

But what triggered my tears today was an odd little combination of things, or maybe just an accumulation of all of the above. I was driving home from breakfast with a congregation member -- I'd call it coffee but she had Diet Coke and I had iced tea. I was driving home switching radio stations and hit a country station in the middle of Phil Vassar's "Last Day of My Life." Now the way my brain works, I actually thought it was the song "Live Like You Were Dying" and I didn't know the actual title of Vassar's until just now when I looked it up. And I didn't hear the rest of the words to know that it wasn't "Live Like You Were Dying" because I went to a Dad place in my head.

And it was a good place. I thought of all the things I would tell him if I could. (I realized recently that Dad would have really gotten a kick out of knowing that I was going to attempt to play God in our medieval play at school.) In the few seconds that memories can flood past more rapidly than you could write or speak them, I thought of how much I've been through since Dad's death. I thought about the words I had written in the DCOM paper about experiencing personal resurrection as a result of this time of grief and recovery. And I thought that the one thing I wish I could let Dad know is just how happy I am.

I shed a few tears, but just a few, and I started thinking about Dad's play. Just yesterday I had been telling a woman I visit once a month about the play, because she's from Colorado originally, and she knew where Creede was. I had also been thinking that I had never shared the play with some of my seminary friends and needed to remember where my extra copies are. Then, I began to wonder if Dad's play was still available on Amazon.

So, when I got home, I looked it up. And there were two, both through third-party sellers, both listed for $89. One of them was listed as a collectible because it was signed. I couldn't figure out how to reach the seller of the signed copy, but the other copy, not signed but also listed at $89, was a bookstore in Santa Clara. So I called and asked if their copy was signed. It wasn't. So I asked why $89. The woman explained that it was a hard to find book. "That's the current market value."

Dad would have loved that. A book he self-published and mostly gave away, has a current market value of $89. Me, I think the signed copy should be worth more. If I really wanted to boost his ego, I'd tell him I also found a site where the going rate was $147.

If any kc's kaleidoscope readers would like a copy, I'm happy to give it to you for the price I paid. (Or, maybe I should start listing them online one at a time in order to raise a little tuition money!)

And, just for fun, here's a site with seven reviews of the Old Man's literary gifts .

I'll always miss my Dad. Some days more than others. But I am thankful for his continuing presence in my life in so many ways.

Today I am thankful for his presence in words. And for sharing a love of the written word with me that lives now, too, in his grandson.


karen said...

I couldn't make the link work. For the truly curious here's a link you should be able to cut and paste.

Marian said...

Karen, I'm a librarian who is trying to get information about your father in order to distinguish him from other Tony Clarks in our catalog. Would you be willing to answer the following questions for me? Did your father publish anything besides this one book? If so, what? What are his birth and death dates and/or middle initial? Would you be willing to email me with this information? In library catalogs, we always try to keep different authors with the same name separated so that people can find all the works by one author without false hits. My email address is Thanks so much. Marian Veld, Comstock (Michigan) Township Library