In 2010, John McPhee published a personal essay in The New Yorker about his relationship with his late father. In “The Patch,” McPhee describes their fishing trips when he was a child: waking up before dawn and standing beside a stream, tacking on angleworms and other bait, and fishing for salmon with a bamboo rod. These, McPhee wrote, were “my fondest memories of my father, his best way of being close.”
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This week, in honor of Father’s Day, we’re bringing you a selection of pieces about fatherhood and the ways in which fathers shape our lives. In a Personal History from 2017, Daniel Mendelsohn chronicles a journey he took in Greece with his elderly father to retrace the steps of Odysseus. In “The Ability to Cry,” the novelist Yiyun Li reflects on her father’s last days and her abiding desire for a closer relationship with him. (“There must be a thousand things in his life like the desert plant; remembered only by him.”) In “The King of the Forest,” Roger Angell recounts the ebb and flow of his relationship with Ernest Angell and details his experiences as a child of divorce. Finally, in “The Lion and Me,” from 1998, John Lahr writes about Bert Lahr and how his vivid persona as the Cowardly Lion, in “The Wizard of Oz,” contrasted with his more muted personality at home. (“His laughter was a comfort to the world; in his world, which was rarely humorous, we comforted him.”) However you spend the day, we hope you enjoy these reflections on the many dimensions of fatherhood.
The New Yorker
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